What is a Casino?

A casino is an establishment for gambling. Casinos are often built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, cruise ships and other tourist attractions. Some casinos are operated by government-licensed gambling clubs, others by private businesses that pay a percentage of their earnings to the state or local jurisdiction in which they operate. A casino may also be an entertainment venue, with live music and theatrical performances as well as gaming tables.

There are many different types of casino games. The most common are dice, cards and slot machines. Other popular games include bingo, keno and poker. Gambling has been part of human culture for millennia. The first written evidence of it dates back to 2300 BC in China, but it was much later, in the 1400s, that modern-day casino games like blackjack and roulette developed.

In the twentieth century, casino popularity exploded worldwide. In the United States, legalized casino gambling began in Nevada in 1931, followed by California in 1946. During the 1990s, casinos became increasingly sophisticated in their use of technology. Video cameras now routinely monitor betting activity; tables are equipped with chips that have a microcircuit to electronically oversee the amounts wagered minute-by-minute; and roulette wheels are regularly monitored to discover any statistical deviation from their expected average.

Most casinos earn money by charging a commission on the bets placed by patrons. This is known as the vig or rake. In addition, some casinos make money by offering complimentary services to high-stakes gamblers. These inducements can include free spectacular entertainment, luxury living quarters and reduced-fare transportation.