What Is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games of chance. These include blackjack, poker, roulette and craps. Casinos also feature slot machines and other electronic games of chance. These games bring in billions of dollars a year for the casinos, their investors and owners. The success of casinos also brings in taxes and fees for state and local governments. Casinos may be large resorts, hotels and entertainment centers or small card rooms. In addition to the games in a casino, it might also offer restaurants, shopping, entertainment and other amenities. Casinos are most often found in Nevada, but they are growing in popularity throughout the United States and world.

In general, casino games have a mathematically determined advantage for the house. The exact advantage varies between games, but is usually less than two percent. This advantage is collected by the casino as a percentage of each bet placed. This is called the house edge. Casinos also earn income from the sale of complementary items to gamblers, called comps. This includes free meals, hotel rooms, show tickets and other items. Casinos also collect a fee from poker players, called the rake, which is a percentage of each pot won.

Gambling has a long history and likely predates recorded history. The modern casino as we know it began in the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. Casinos arose as a way to offer a variety of gambling options under one roof. In recent years, casinos have increased their use of technology to monitor and supervise the games themselves. For instance, chips with built-in microcircuitry allow casinos to track the precise amounts bet minute by minute; and roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly for any statistical deviations from expected results.