Top Categories

What is a Casino?

What is a Casino?

A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. These establishments are often combined with hotels, restaurants, resorts, and/or retail shops. Some casinos also feature live entertainment.

Although gambling probably predates recorded history, the casino as a place where people could find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century. At that time, Europeans were obsessed with gambling and aristocrats would hold private parties in buildings known as ridotti, where they could indulge their passion for chance without fear of persecution by the Italian Inquisition.

Gambling is a highly lucrative industry, bringing in more than 51 million visitors worldwide in 2002 alone. Many of these visitors came to Las Vegas, where casinos are a major attraction. Other popular destinations include Atlantic City, Macau, and the world’s most famous poker room in Monte Carlo.

Casinos make money by giving players a slight advantage over the house in games that require skill, such as blackjack and poker. These advantages, which are small and typically less than two percent, add up over the millions of bets placed by casino patrons. They are called the house edge and variance, and casinos hire mathematicians to calculate them for their various games.

During the Mob’s heyday in Reno and Las Vegas, the Mafia supplied much of the money that kept these gambling cash cows afloat. However, legitimate businessmen with deeper pockets soon realized that the mob’s association with casinos had a negative effect on their reputation, and federal crackdowns on mob influence eventually drove the mobsters away from their casino empires.