What is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment for gambling. In addition to a variety of games of chance, they often include restaurants, hotels and other forms of entertainment. Casinos are located in cities and states with legalized gambling or where the law allows it to be operated. The casinos are usually owned by private corporations or organizations and are managed by professionals. Casinos are staffed with employees trained to spot cheating, scamming or stealing. Many are heavily guarded and have cameras everywhere.

Casinos make money by charging patrons for the right to play in them. The casinos’ advantage, known as the vig or rake, can be small (lower than two percent) but over time and large amounts of money, it adds up. Casinos often build elaborate structures and facilities for this reason, and are a major tourist attraction.

Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice (carved knuckle bones) and a variety of dice found in archaeological sites. But the modern casino as a place where gamblers could find a wide range of games under one roof did not appear until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. Italian aristocrats would hold private parties at clubs called ridotti, where they could enjoy a variety of gambling games in a social atmosphere. These became the prototypes of modern casinos. Today’s casinos are generally more elegant and expensive than ridotti, but the concept is the same.