What Is a Casino?


A casino is a facility that houses gambling activities. Usually, the games played in casinos are based on luck and chance, with some having skill involved. Besides the actual gambling, casinos offer other amenities to attract customers, such as free drinks, restaurants and stage shows.

From the elegant spa town of Baden-Baden to the flashing lights of Las Vegas and the clandestine pai gow parlors of New York’s Chinatown, casinos come in all shapes and sizes. Nevertheless, they all share the same purpose: to attract people and encourage them to gamble.

The earliest known casinos were established in Europe during the second half of the 19th century, and they quickly gained popularity throughout the world. By the mid- to late 20th century, they had become a major entertainment venue. Today, there are countless casinos in the United States and around the world. Most of them feature an incredible selection of table games and slot machines.

Most casinos have a built-in statistical advantage, known as the house edge. This can be as low as two percent or higher, depending on the rules and type of game. This advantage earns the casino a small commission, which is called the vig or rake.

In addition to the usual fare, many casinos also offer traditional Far Eastern games such as sic bo, fan-tan and pai-gow. These are popular with Asian tourists and can be found in many resorts and hotels. Casinos have a broad range of security measures in place to deter cheating, such as palming and marking cards. In addition to security personnel, casino floors are patrolled by surveillance cameras.