What is a Casino?


A casino is a building where gambling games are played. It’s like an indoor amusement park for adults with the bulk of the entertainment (and profits) coming from the gambling machines and table games. While lighted fountains, elaborate hotels and stage shows help draw in the crowds, casinos would not exist without slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and other games of chance.

Casinos make money by charging patrons a small percentage of the bets they place. This is called the house edge and it is built into all games offered in a casino. It can be a very small percentage, less than two percent in most cases, but over millions of bets it adds up to enough money for the casino to operate. Casinos may also make money by selling chips to patrons to use instead of cash for the gambling games. This reduces the amount of money players can lose and increases the size of a jackpot when a player wins.

The word casino is derived from the Italian kasino, meaning “little palace.” It wasn’t always so glamorous, however, as casinos began appearing in Atlantic City, New Jersey and other American cities after state antigambling laws were repealed in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Casinos also opened on Indian reservations and in other countries where local governments did not oppose them. Today there are a total of about 3,000 legal casinos in the world, including those on cruise ships, aircraft carriers and horse race tracks.