What Is a Casino?



A Casino is a place where people gamble on games of chance. Some casinos add other entertainment such as stage shows and dramatic scenery, but the basic idea is a place where gamblers can find a variety of gambling activities under one roof.

Most of the gambling games that casinos offer have a built-in statistical advantage for the house, which is known as the house edge. This is how the casinos make money and pay out winnings. It doesn’t mean that players can’t win, but it does mean that over time the house will always come out ahead.

Security in a casino starts on the floor, where casino employees keep an eye out for suspicious patrons. Dealers are heavily trained and can easily spot blatant cheating, such as palming or marking cards. Pit bosses and table managers watch over the tables with a broader view, keeping an eye out for patterns of betting that might signal cheating or collusion between players. Elaborate surveillance systems allow security personnel to watch every table, window and doorway at once.

The earliest casinos probably evolved from taverns that offered a wide range of gambling opportunities, such as dice and billiards. Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved knuckle bones discovered at ancient archaeological sites. The modern casino, though, didn’t develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe and wealthy Italian aristocrats would gather in private parties called ridotti to gamble on everything from baccarat to chess.