What Is a Casino?


A casino, sometimes called a gaming house or a gambling establishment, is an entertainment complex offering various games of chance. These include dice games, card games, and roulette. Some casinos also have restaurants, bars and meeting rooms. A casino may also offer shows, such as acrobatic performances or concerts. Casinos have gained worldwide popularity and are licensed by government authorities to operate.

While gambling certainly predates recorded history, the modern casino as a place for people to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof didn’t develop until the 16th century. The idea was popularized during a gambling craze in Europe, when Italian aristocrats would host private parties in rooms known as ridotti. Though technically illegal, the parties rarely saw the attention of legal authorities because they were for high-stakes players only.

In most casino games, the house has a mathematical advantage that can be as low as two percent of bets placed. This house edge, which is usually built into the game rules, enables casinos to make money and pay patrons winnings. In the case of games like poker, the casino collects a commission from each player. The commission is known as the vig or rake.

Casinos spend a significant amount of time and money on security because something about gambling seems to encourage people to cheat or steal. To counter these dangers, most casinos have elaborate surveillance systems that keep a watchful eye on every table and window in the building.