What is a Casino?

A Casino is a gambling establishment where patrons play games of chance, in some cases with an element of skill, to win money. These games may include craps, roulette, blackjack, baccarat, video poker and other popular gambling games. The casino industry also includes non-gambling entertainment venues and restaurants. In many instances, casinos are attached to hotels and spas.

Casinos earn the majority of their revenue from slot machines. The reason is the simplicity of operation: the player simply inserts a coin, pulls a lever or presses a button. Varying bands of colored shapes then roll on the reels (actual physical reels or a video representation of them). The pattern that emerges determines whether the machine pays out. There is no way for a player to influence the outcome by altering their wager or strategy.

Gambling has occurred as early as recorded history, with primitive proto-dice and carved six-sided dice found in ancient archaeological sites [Source: PBS]. But the modern concept of a casino as a place for a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century. The term was borrowed from Italy, where aristocrats would hold private parties in rooms called ridotti to indulge their passion for gambling.

Today, casinos are opulent facilities that often feature top-notch hotels and restaurants along with an array of gaming options. In addition, some are attached to non-gambling entertainment venues and bars. Despite the flashy decor, a casino’s most important asset is its clientele. Although it has been a draw for royalty and aristocrats in the past, most casinos are now aimed at the mass market.