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What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games of chance. These include slots, roulette, blackjack, craps, baccarat and poker.

The word “casino” comes from Italy, where it originally denoted something as simple as a villa or a summerhouse or even a social club for aristocrats to meet in. The craze for gambling spread to Europe around the 16th century, when Italian aristocrats were known to hold private parties in places called ridotti [Source: Schwartz].

In addition to gambling, casinos have restaurants, bars, shops and spas, as well as a variety of entertainment options. Some are slick glass-and-steel temples of overindulgence, while others ooze history and charm.


A big part of a casino’s success depends on the security they provide. Elaborate surveillance systems monitor all gaming tables, change windows and doorways and record video feeds for later review if suspicious activity is detected.

Game Odds

The casino has built-in advantages that allow it to make a profit in virtually every game offered, which is why it accepts all bets within an established limit. The advantage is called the house edge, and it represents the average gross profit that the casino expects to earn on each bet.

Complimentary Goods and Services

Comps are a common form of free entertainment in casinos, and they’re given to players who spend a lot of money. These may include free hotel rooms, dinners, theater tickets, limo service and airline tickets.

Although many people think of gambling as a harmless way to pass the time, studies have shown that it can actually be addictive. It can cause a significant shift in spending from other local entertainment and activities, and it can also damage the economy.