What is a Casino?

A Casino is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. Its revenue is derived from the amount of money that people bet on these games. It may also come from other sources such as food and drinks. Casinos can also offer free shows and other attractions to attract more customers.

Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found at archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. But the casino as an institution that combines a variety of gambling activities under one roof did not develop until the 16th century. Initially, it was a way for Italian aristocrats to enjoy private parties while gambling. These venues were known as ridotti and despite being technically illegal, the casino was rarely bothered by legal authorities.

The modern casino is often seen as an adult amusement park, complete with musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and hotels. Its main source of profit, however, comes from the billions of dollars that patrons bet on slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and other classic table games.

Because casinos are so lucrative, they compete aggressively to attract the highest-stakes players. As a result, they regularly offer these players extravagant inducements such as free spectacular entertainment, luxury hotel suites and reduced-fare transportation. In addition, casinos are choosy about whom they accept as high rollers. This is because they know that these people spend the most money and thus have the greatest chance of generating a significant amount of gross profits.