What is a Casino?


Casinos are gambling establishments where patrons pay to try their luck at games of chance. They often add luxuries such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows to draw in customers, but the basic attraction is still the same: gambling. Casinos rely on the excitement of games like roulette, craps, blackjack, and video poker to generate the billions in profits they rake in each year.

Although gambling has existed since ancient times, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and even carved six-sided dice found in some archaeological digs, the casino as a place to gamble did not develop until the 16th century when the craze for gambling swept Europe. Small private clubs called ridotti sprang up, where Italian aristocrats would meet for social occasions while gambling on their favorite games.

Gambling is an entertainment industry and it takes a lot of money to operate it, so casinos have to employ a variety of security measures. Both patrons and employees may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or on their own, and so casinos have elaborate surveillance systems. These include hidden cameras in every doorway, window and change machine, as well as a room filled with banks of security monitors to watch everything that happens on the casino floor.

Most casino games have a built-in advantage for the house, known as the “house edge.” This advantage ensures that the casino will always win in the long run, no matter what anyone plays. Casinos also take a percentage of the monies players lose, which is called a vig or rake.