What is a Casino?

Categories : Gambling

A casino is a gambling establishment for certain types of games of chance. It is often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping and cruise ships or is situated on its own. Gambling is legal in some countries, but casinos are generally forbidden by law in others. In the United States, casinos are usually located in cities with tourist destinations, such as Las Vegas or Atlantic City. Some casinos are also built on American Indian reservations, which are not subject to state antigambling laws.

A large percentage of casino profits come from high rollers. These gamblers spend tens of thousands of dollars a hand and are often given free spectacular entertainment, transportation, hotel rooms and even limo service. Casinos are able to give such inducements because every game they offer has a built in mathematical advantage for the house, or casino. This advantage may be as low as two percent, but it adds up over millions of bets. Casino mathematicians, or gaming analysts, compute the edge and variance for all casino games.

While the precise origin of gambling is unknown, it is thought that people have sat down and risked money on games of chance since ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece. In the twentieth century, gambling became legal in some European countries and America, and casinos began to appear on American Indian reservations, which are exempt from state antigambling laws. In the 1980s, many Atlantic City casinos opened. Today, many major cities have casinos, including Paris, Macau and Singapore.