What Is a Casino?


A casino is a public place where people can play games of chance, including poker, roulette, baccarat, and blackjack. Some casinos also offer restaurants, free drinks, and stage shows. Some are built as resorts, and they may include other amenities such as spas and hotels. Casinos are most often found in cities with legalized gambling, but they also appear on American Indian reservations and in other places that are not subject to state antigambling laws.

A modern casino is a complex business that involves many different activities. Its employees must deal with the demands of customers, keep track of money flow, and supervise a large staff. In addition, the casino must maintain strict security measures to protect its patrons and employees from theft and other crimes.

The concept of a casino as a place to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof didn’t develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. At that time, wealthy Italian nobles would hold private parties at their homes, called ridotti, where gambling was the main entertainment activity.

While some gambling games involve skill, most have a mathematical advantage for the house, which is known as the house edge or expected value. The house’s edge can be tiny, but it adds up over the millions of bets placed at casinos each year. To offset this, casinos take a fee from each bet, which is sometimes called the vigorish or rake.