What Is a Casino?


A casino is an adult entertainment establishment that offers gambling. Its patrons may gamble using table games, video poker and slot machines. Some casinos also offer sports betting and horse racing. Some are operated by government-licensed gambling operators. Others are privately owned. Many casinos are located in Las Vegas, Nevada; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Macau, China; and London, England. Casinos may also be found on Indian reservations and other locations outside the United States.

The concept of a place where people could find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof developed with the rise in popularity of gambling in the 16th century. While gambling has been around since primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice have been found in archaeological digs, the casino as a gathering place to find and play a wide range of gambling games did not take hold until this period.

Gambling is a huge industry that generates billions of dollars for its owners every year. While musical shows, lighted fountains and lavish hotels help draw in the crowds, casinos would not exist without the games themselves. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and baccarat provide the basis for the profits that casinos bring in.

These games of chance have a mathematically determined advantage for the house that is called the house edge. This advantage can be small, but over time it adds up to the billions that casinos earn. These profits allow casinos to offer big bettors extravagant inducements like free spectacular entertainment, reduced-fare transportation and elegant living quarters. The house also takes a percentage of bets on games that involve an element of skill, such as blackjack and video poker, from each player, which is known as the vig or rake.