What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment. It offers a variety of gaming options, such as table games, slot machines, and poker rooms, along with live entertainment and top-notch hotels, restaurants, and spas. In addition, casinos have security measures to deter cheating and stealing by patrons and employees. These measures include surveillance cameras, which are placed throughout the casino.

Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved knuckle bones found in archaeological digs. But the casino as a place for people to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe and wealthy Italian aristocrats hosted parties at their homes called ridotti [Source: Schwartz].

Casinos make money by offering a mathematically determined advantage to the house in all their games. This house edge can be very small, less than two percent, but it adds up over millions of bets. The casinos also charge players a commission for using their tables, which is known as the vig or rake.

Because of the large amounts of currency that are handled within a casino, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion with each other or independently. As a result, most casinos spend a significant amount of time and money on security. In addition to cameras, casinos employ numerous other techniques. For example, the floors and walls are often decorated in bright colors that are designed to stimulate the senses and distract gamblers; red is a particularly popular color. Moreover, there are no clocks in casinos, because they can make people lose track of time.