What Is a Casino?


A casino is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. These games may include slot machines, table games (such as roulette, craps, baccarat, blackjack), and card games (such as poker). Some casinos also have restaurants, theaters, and other entertainment venues. Some states have laws that regulate the operation of casinos.

Some casinos have high-tech surveillance systems, including catwalks in the ceiling that allow security personnel to look directly down on activities at tables and slots through one-way mirrors. Cameras in the ceiling also can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons. Other surveillance techniques include the use of hidden cameras, which can record everything that happens in a casino room.

Casinos often give away free goods and services to big bettors, known as comps. These can include rooms, meals, tickets to shows, and even limo service and airline tickets. Casinos typically make money by taking a percentage of all bets made by players. This is called the house edge.

Although gambling probably existed in some form as early as recorded history, the casino as a venue where patrons could find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century. A gambling craze was sweeping Europe at this time, and Italian aristocrats began holding private parties in places called ridotti. The popularity of these private clubs pushed gambling into the open and eventually led to the establishment of modern casinos.