What is a Casino?


A casino, or gambling house, is an establishment where people can play games of chance. The word is derived from the Latin cazino, meaning “to risk.” Casinos earn much of their money by letting players gamble with chips that have a predetermined value (known as the house edge) and by charging a commission, called a rake, on poker and certain other card games. Other sources of revenue include slot machines, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and craps. Some casinos offer high-stakes gambling in special rooms that are staffed by specially trained personnel.

In the twenty-first century, many states have amended their antigambling laws to permit casino gambling. Many American Indian reservations also have casinos. In addition, some foreign countries have legalized casino gambling.

Modern casinos have a strong social aspect, with drinks and snacks served throughout the gambling areas. Waiters circulating through the tables often shout encouragement, and loud music is often played to create an exciting atmosphere.

Although the precise origin of gambling is unknown, it is believed that it was practiced in many societies. The early modern casino began to develop in Europe in the 18th century, with a number of gaming houses opening in cities such as Venice, London and Madrid.

In the United States, casinos can be found in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and other major cities. They are usually built near hotels, restaurants and shopping centers. In addition to offering traditional casino games, many have a wide range of entertainment options, such as musical shows and lighted fountains. In the 1990s, technology greatly increased the security of casino games. For example, some betting chips have built-in microcircuitry that allows them to be tracked by computer. This allows a casino to monitor the amounts wagered minute by minute and detect any anomalies.