What is a Casino?


A casino is a building or room where various games of chance are played. It may include a variety of gambling devices, such as slot machines, blackjack and roulette. Often, casinos also have a range of other entertainment features such as musical shows and lighted fountains to attract patrons. While these features do help draw in visitors, the vast majority of a casino’s profits (and the money that gamblers lose) come from gambling itself. Casinos make their money by taking a small percentage of each bet, or “vig,” and by charging players for poker tournaments or other games that require the presence of an employee to operate.

Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in archaeological digs. However, the modern casino as a place where people could find a wide range of ways to wager under one roof did not develop until the 16th century, during a gambling craze that swept Europe.

Modern casinos tend to focus on high rollers, or those who spend a lot of money. They offer these patrons luxurious rooms, personal attention from dealers and a variety of other perks. According to Harrah’s Entertainment, only about 20% of Americans who have household incomes below $95,000 a year participate in casino gambling.

A casino’s main source of revenue is from bettors, who are essentially paying money to try and beat the house’s built in mathematical advantage, or “house edge.” The house edge can be very small — less than two percent in the case of roulette wheels, for example — but over millions of bets it adds up. And the more a player plays, the greater the chances that the house will win.