What is a Casino?


A Casino is a place where people play games of chance and skill. They can be found in large resorts such as Las Vegas and on cruise ships, at racetracks converted to racinos, and even in small neighborhood card rooms. Casinos earn billions of dollars a year for the corporations, investors, and Native American tribes that own them. They also generate substantial tax revenues for state and local governments.

Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive proto-dice and carved six-sided dice turning up in archaeological digs, but the modern casino didn’t develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe and led Italian aristocrats to gather at private clubs called ridotti [Source: Schwartz]. These casinos offered a variety of games under one roof and provided a safe haven from religious authorities that were trying to suppress public gambling.

Casinos are based on the principle that any bet made by a gambler within an established limit will yield a positive gross profit. They achieve this through a combination of game selection, design, and marketing. They entice big bettors with extravagant inducements such as free spectacular entertainment, luxurious living quarters, and reduced-fare transportation. Casinos also make a profit from the “vig” or “rake,” which is the percentage of money that is taken by the house on each bet.

Casinos also rely on technology to monitor and control their games. The betting chips on table games contain microcircuitry that communicates with electronic systems to oversee the exact amount wagered minute by minute, alerting security to any abnormality; roulette wheels are electronically monitored to detect statistical deviations; and video poker machines (introduced in the 1980s) can be adjusted for virtually any desired profit.