What Is a Casino?

A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. The games offered may include blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat, and poker. It is also common for casinos to feature live entertainment and luxury hotels. Some casinos may also offer dining, shopping, or other tourist attractions.

Although some people gamble solely for the money, most patrons enter a casino for the entertainment value. The clinking of slot machines and shuffling of cards soothes the ear, and the opulent surroundings are designed to stimulate all the senses. More than 15,000 miles of neon tubing is used to light many casinos along the Las Vegas Strip. Colors are chosen to be pleasing to the eye, and bright lights are intended to help patrons forget they’re in a place that might actually make them lose money.

Each game in a casino has a built-in statistical advantage for the house, which is designed to generate enough profits over time. The slight edge, combined with millions of bets, is what gives casinos their revenue, and what allows them to build hotels, fountains, towers and replicas of famous landmarks.

Gambling almost certainly predates written history, but the modern casino as a place for people to find a variety of ways to wager under one roof did not develop until the 16th century, when European royalty often held private parties in places called ridotti [source: Schwartz]. Casinos are more selective about who they allow to gamble nowadays. They often have separate rooms for high rollers, whose bets are in the tens of thousands of dollars. These VIP patrons are often rewarded with comps (complimentary gifts) that might include free spectacular shows and transportation, elegant living quarters, and reduced-fare travel packages.