What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of table and slot machines, as well as live entertainment and top-notch hotels, restaurants and spas. Some casinos are famous, and others focus on particular types of games or offer special perks such as private jets for players.

Originally, the term casino referred to a large public hall for music and dancing, but by the second half of the 19th century it had come to refer to a collection of gaming or gambling rooms. The earliest such collection was in Monte-Carlo, opened in 1863 and still one of the world’s best known casinos.

In the United States, the first casinos began appearing in Nevada, which had legalized gambling, and on American Indian reservations, which were exempt from state antigambling laws. Other states soon followed suit, and the word casino quickly became synonymous with a facility where people could gamble.

Casinos earn money from bettors by charging them a “vigorish” or house edge on each game played. The advantage is usually less than two percent, but it adds up over the millions of bets made by patrons each year.

Some casinos try to offset the house edge by offering free goods and services to their best players, called comps. These can include free hotel rooms, meals and tickets to shows. A player’s rank at the casino is determined by how much he or she spends and how long he or she plays.