What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment that offers customers games of chance. Some casinos also offer skill-based games. Casinos make money by charging a commission on the winnings of players, known as the house edge. They may also give out complimentary items or comps to gamblers. Some casinos are regulated by government authorities.

Although gambling probably predates recorded history, the modern casino as a place to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century. At that time, European aristocrats would gather at private gambling houses called ridotti to play dice, card games and other games of chance. These venues became the ancestors of today’s casinos.

In the United States, casinos are licensed and regulated by state governments. They earn billions of dollars each year from the vigorish and other fees charged to gamblers. Casinos often feature musical shows, lighted fountains, lavish hotels and elaborate themes to attract tourists. While these attractions make casinos popular destinations, they wouldn’t exist without the games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, craps and other games of chance provide the billions in profits that casinos generate each year.

While casinos are attractive destinations for tourists, their negative effects on local communities outweigh any economic benefits. They can reduce the amount of money spent in other forms of local entertainment, hurt real estate prices and cause problem gambling addictions. Moreover, the revenue generated by casinos is often diverted from other economic activities and the cost of treating gambling addicts often outweighs any benefits they provide.