What is a Casino?

A casino is a building where people can gamble and play games of chance. It has evolved from the seedy establishments that your grandmother might have taken a weekend bus trip to in the old days into full-blown resorts where winning and dining and entertainment are all part of the experience. The gaming facilities are usually attached to prime dining and entertainment venues where rock, jazz, and a host of other performers appear for the public’s amusement.

Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in ancient archaeological sites. But the casino as a place where patrons can find a variety of ways to wager under one roof did not emerge until the 16th century. That’s when European aristocrats gathered in private clubhouses known as ridotti to partake of the gambling craze that was sweeping the country at the time.

The house edge is built into every game offered in a casino. The house advantage may be lower than two percent, but it adds up over millions of bets and countless hours of play. This revenue provides the funds casinos use to construct elaborate hotels, fountains and towers and replicas of famous landmarks.

In addition to the house edge, casinos also employ a range of measures to prevent cheating and theft. Despite these measures, many casino patrons are compelled to gamble away their wealth and even their homes. Compulsive gambling generates a disproportionate amount of casino profits, and economic studies suggest that the lost productivity of compulsive gamblers more than offsets any community benefits the casinos provide.