What is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment where gambling takes place. It may refer to a building that houses gambling games, such as poker and blackjack, or it may describe an entire industry. It is also sometimes used to describe a machine that accepts wagers for a particular game, such as a slot machine. Casino gambling is a form of legalized gambling, and some states have passed laws that regulate and tax it.

Gambling in one form or another has been a part of human culture for millennia. There is evidence of dice and card games in 2300 BC China, and table games like roulette, baccarat and craps have been around for centuries. During the 1970s casinos began to appear in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and they spread throughout America after that. They also appeared on American Indian reservations, which are not subject to state antigambling statutes.

The economic mainstay of most casinos is the income from table and slot machines. The latter are characterized by their high volume, rapid play at sums from five cents to a dollar or more, and the ability to adjust their pay tables to meet any desired profit margin. Casinos also offer other games, such as Asian-style sic bo and fan-tan, and pai gow.

In addition to their games, casinos focus on customer service and amenities. They provide stimulating atmospheres designed to draw patrons and increase their spending. Many also offer comps, or complimentary items, to their players. These may include free meals, drinks, show tickets or merchandise.