What is a Casino?


A casino is a building that contains a variety of gambling games. The games can be played with cash or casino chips. Some casinos offer only table games, while others have a wide range of gambling machines. A casino also offers entertainment such as shows and concerts. The Grand Lisboa in Macau, China, is an example of a luxurious casino.

While the concept of casinos dates back to primitive protodice and carved knuckle bones, the modern idea of having a place where gamblers can find a variety of different games under one roof developed in the 16th century as a result of a gambling craze that swept Europe at that time. These early casinos were called ridotti, and Italian aristocrats often held private parties at them. Although gambling was technically illegal in Italy, the aristocrats were not bothered by the law and ridotti flourished.

Modern casinos are often heavily influenced by mobster money. In the 1950s, the Mob provided the bankroll that helped casinos grow into the huge tourist draws that they are today in Nevada and Atlantic City. But federal crackdowns and the risk of losing a license for a casino at even the slightest hint of Mafia involvement meant that legitimate businessmen soon began to dominate the industry.

Most casino games have a built in statistical advantage for the house. This edge is usually less than two percent, but it adds up over the millions of bets placed by patrons each year. The house makes its money by charging a fee to players known as the vig or rake, depending on the game. In some games, such as poker, the house also earns money by taking a commission on winning bets. In addition to this income, casinos may provide complimentary goods or services to “good” players, such as free hotel rooms and tickets to shows.