What is a Casino?

The term casino is broadly used to refer to any place where gambling activities take place. But the word has a much more specific meaning, according to Merriam-Webster: “a building or room designed and operated for social amusements, especially gambling.”

When most people think of casinos, they imagine the megaresorts that line Las Vegas’ Strip—and there are many of those, of course. But there are also a number of smaller casinos, some owned by major hotel chains and others run independently. What they have in common is that they offer various gambling games and attract customers by offering a combination of glitz and glamour with an emphasis on customer service.

Casinos have been part of human culture for millennia. The earliest evidence dates back to 2300 BC, when wooden blocks were found that were used in gaming. Then came dice in 500 AD and card games in the 1400s.

Generally speaking, casino games involve either chance or skill. The house always has an advantage in games of pure chance, such as craps and roulette. In games of pure skill, such as poker, the players compete against each other and not against the house.

Casinos make their money by taking a percentage of the bets made by customers, a fee called a rake. They also offer comps, or complimentary items, to their players. Typically, the higher a player’s stakes, the more they will pay in rake and comps. The top gamblers are known as high rollers and may be offered a personal host or even their own private area to play.