What Is a Casino?


A casino is a facility where people can gamble on games of chance. The earliest forms of gambling predate recorded history, with primitive protodice and even carved six-sided dice being found in archaeological sites. The modern concept of a casino developed in the 16th century as a way to provide a variety of gambling opportunities under one roof. Casinos are often located in resorts and are surrounded by noise, bright lights, and cheering crowds. Many casinos feature red floor and wall coverings, which are thought to make patrons lose track of time and thus gamble longer.

Although there is an element of luck in all gambling, the vast majority of casino games have mathematically determined odds that always give the house a profit (a negative expected value from the player’s perspective). The casinos’ profit is often described as the “house edge.”

In order to attract customers and increase profits, most casinos focus on high-stakes gamblers. These gamblers are referred to as “high rollers.” They usually gamble in special rooms with their own pit bosses and managers, who monitor the action from a large booth off the casino floor. They also receive comps, or complimentary goods and services, such as free hotel rooms, meals, show tickets, and limo service.

Most states regulate casinos in some way, and the number continues to grow as more people legalize gambling and travel for pleasure. However, some economists believe that the net effect of casinos on local communities is actually negative. They argue that the money spent in casinos shifts spending away from other forms of entertainment and that the cost of treating problem gamblers negates any economic gains.