What is a Casino?


A casino is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. Some casinos have a skill element to them as well, and those who possess sufficient skills can eliminate the inherent long-term disadvantage of the house advantage (known as the vig or rake). In general, casino games have a negative expected value for players, meaning that over time they will lose money.

Casinos make their money by collecting a percentage of all bets made, which is known as the house edge. The house edge is typically very low, less than two percent, but it adds up over millions of bets. The casino can then offer free hotel rooms, food and drink and other perks to encourage patronage.

Gambling has been going on since ancient times, and casinos were developed in the 16th century as a place where Italian aristocrats could find all manner of ways to bet under one roof [Source: Schwartz]. The word is believed to have come from the Latin word for “garden” or “pleasure garden,” reflecting the popularity of gambling at these parties.

Casinos are often located in tourist destinations and focus on customer service. For example, during the 1970s many Las Vegas casinos offered free meals, cheap show tickets and other perks to draw in large numbers of people to increase their gambling revenues. Today’s casinos are choosier about who they attract and tend to reward high rollers with perks that can include free luxury suites and limo service.