What Is a Casino?
A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Casinos are often built near or combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops, and other tourist attractions. Some casinos also feature live entertainment. In military and nonmilitary usage, the term “casino” may refer to an officers’ mess.
Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice among the earliest archaeological finds. However, the modern casino as an institution offering a variety of ways to gamble did not emerge until the 16th century. At that time, it was popular for European aristocrats to hold private parties at places called ridotti, where they could wager on a variety of games, including roulette and baccarat.
Most modern casinos offer a variety of games, including blackjack, craps, poker, and slot machines. These games typically have a house advantage, which is the mathematically determined profit the casino expects to make over the long run. The house edge can vary between games, but it is generally less than two percent.
Casinos are a major source of revenue for many cities and states. In the United States, most casinos are located in Las Vegas; Atlantic City; and on Indian reservations. Various economic studies have shown that, in addition to their direct revenue, casinos bring in tourists and boost hotel and other gaming revenues. However, critics assert that the cost of treatment for compulsive gambling and lost productivity due to addictive gambling more than offset any financial gains.