What Is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment where people can engage in gambling activities. It has the look of an indoor amusement park for adults, with food, drinks, stage shows and other luxuries, but the vast majority of a casino’s profits are generated by games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, poker and other table games all contribute to the billions in profits casinos bring in every year.

Casinos use a variety of methods to attract and keep patrons, from the layout of the rooms and corridors to the music playing in the background. Casino designers strive to create a sense of mystery and excitement by minimizing windows and using dimmed lighting. Casinos also employ a number of security measures to ensure the safety of patrons and staff. Many have catwalks in the ceiling over the gambling floor that allow security personnel to look down, through one-way glass, on gamblers at tables and slot machines.

While gambling likely predates recorded history, the casino as a place to find a wide variety of ways to wager under one roof probably emerged around the 16th century. At that time, a gambling craze was sweeping Europe and wealthy Italian aristocrats would gather at private clubs called ridotti to gamble and socialize. The business model of a casino depends on the built-in advantage it enjoys over gamblers, which is known as the house edge. This advantage can be very small — as low as two percent of bets — but it can add up to millions of dollars over the years, allowing casinos to build hotels, fountains, pyramids and replicas of famous landmarks.