What Is a Casino?

A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Casinos are often built near or combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops, and other tourist attractions. They may also be licensed or regulated by government authorities. In some jurisdictions, casinos are operated by private companies. In other cases, they are owned by public entities such as governments, tribes, or charitable organizations. The term casino may also refer to an establishment for other types of entertainment, such as live music and shows.

Table games are the most popular casino activities, with many of them requiring strategic thinking and decision making. They usually involve a group of players sitting around a table that’s designed specifically for the game. A croupier or dealer enables the game and manages payments. Casinos offer a variety of table games, including card games like poker and blackjack, dice games, and wheel games such as roulette.

Gambling has been a part of human culture for millennia, with evidence dating back to 2300 BC in China and to 500 AD in Rome. Today, casinos are a major source of revenue for many cities and states. According to a 2005 study by Roper Reports GfK NOP and the U.S. Gaming Panel, the average casino gambler is a forty-six-year-old female with above-average income.

In addition to the thrill of the games, casinos also offer comps for their best players—free goods or services, such as hotel rooms, dinners, show tickets and airline tickets. This is one of the ways casinos compete with each other for the best high rollers.