What is a Casino?


A Casino is a public place where a variety of games of chance are played. Although gambling is the main activity, casinos also offer other entertainment such as theater shows and buffets. They are usually licensed and regulated by government bodies. They may offer a wide range of games such as poker, blackjack, craps, roulette and video slots. Most modern casinos also have a restaurant and a hotel.

The word casino traces its roots to Italy, where it originally denoted a small private clubhouse for wealthy Italians who would gather there to socialize during the 16th century. At this time, a gambling craze had swept Europe and the closure of large public gambling houses (called ridotti) pushed most gambling into these smaller venues.

In Europe, these casinos were often located in seaside resorts, while in the United States they began to appear on American Indian reservations that were exempt from state antigambling laws. In the 1980s, many states amended their statutes to allow for casino gambling.

Casinos make money by providing a game of chance for patrons with a built in house advantage, typically no more than two percent. In addition to this vig, or rake, casinos may earn additional revenue from the sale of merchandise and services such as drinks and cigarettes. Because of this virtual guarantee of gross profit, casinos frequently offer big bettors extravagant inducements such as free spectacular entertainment and transportation. They also provide reduced-fare transportation and free rooms for lesser bettors.