What Is a Casino?
A casino is a gambling establishment offering an array of games of chance to its customers. In addition to a wide variety of gambling tables and machines, many casinos also offer live entertainment and top-rated hotels and spas.
While casinos may seem like elaborate indoor amusement parks with musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers, they would not exist without their primary attraction: games of chance. Slot machines, roulette, craps, blackjack, poker and a host of other gambling games provide the billions of dollars in profits that casinos rake in every year.
Casinos make their money by charging patrons a percentage of their total winnings. This fee, often referred to as the house edge, can be as low as two percent for table games like blackjack and roulette or as high as 20 percent for video poker. Casinos also make their money by imposing a minimum bet on some of their games and by taking a cut from players’ bets in games that are not played against the house, such as poker or keno.
Although gambling probably existed as early as primitive protodice or carved knuckle bones, the modern casino did not develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe and Italian aristocrats began to hold private parties at small clubs called ridotti. This type of venue allowed them to gamble socially with a large group of people while remaining discreet and out of the reach of the Roman Catholic church.