What Is a Casino?


A casino (also known as a gaming house, a gambling establishment, or a gaming room) is an institution for certain types of gambling. Casinos are often built near or combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops, cruise ships, and other tourist attractions. Some casinos also host live entertainment events such as stand-up comedy, concerts, and sports. In military and non-military usage, the term may also refer to an officers’ mess.

Beneath the varnish of flashing lights, free cocktails and mindblowing games, casinos are engineered to slowly bleed patrons of their money. But for the mathematically inclined, there is a way to beat the house edge. Using advanced strategy, like counting cards in blackjack, can shift the house edge to where you have a 1-2% advantage over the casino. But the casino doesn’t like it when you do this, so be careful.

While musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers draw in the crowds, casinos would not exist without their main attraction: gambling. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and more provide the billions of dollars in profits that casinos rake in every year.

Gambling has been a popular pastime for thousands of years, and in its modern form, casinos have become a worldwide phenomenon. But how did the casino industry grow from a small clubhouse in an Italian neighborhood to a massive global entertainment business? We take a look at the history of casinos, how they work, the best games to play and more.