What Is a Casino?


A Casino is a building or room in which certain types of gambling activities are carried out. The modern casino is like an indoor amusement park for adults, with lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate themes, but the bulk of the money (and fun) comes from games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and other games provide the billions of dollars in profits that casinos rake in each year.

Gambling in some form has been around for thousands of years, from Mesopotamia to Elizabethan England to Napoleon’s France. While the exact origins are not known, the earliest records of casino-like establishments date back to ancient Egypt and China.

The flashing lights, blaring music and lavish giveaways make casinos seem glamorous, but they are based on games of chance that almost everyone loses, thanks to the irrevocable laws of probability. Casinos spend a large sum on security to keep people from cheating, stealing or scamming their way into a jackpot.

Casinos rely on customers to generate profits, and they reward high-volume players with free goods and services (or comps) such as hotel rooms, meals, show tickets and even limo service and airline tickets. Comps are based on the amount of time and money a player spends at a particular casino game, not how much they win or lose. A good tip for casino patrons is to ask a host or information desk for a list of available comps.