What Is a Casino?


When people think of casinos, they tend to picture the megaresorts in Las Vegas, a place whose name is synonymous with gambling. But according to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, the term casino is “a building or room used for social amusements, especially gambling.”

Casinos offer a wide variety of games. The most common are card games such as poker and blackjack, table games such as roulette and craps, and slot machines. In addition, some casinos specialize in Far Eastern games such as sic bo (which became popular in Europe and America during the 1990s) and fan-tan.

Most of these games have a degree of skill or strategy involved, but they are ultimately based on chance. As a result, the house has an advantage in all of them. This advantage is called the house edge. Casinos also charge a percentage of the bets placed on certain games, known as rake. This money is returned to the players if they win.

During the 1990s, casinos made dramatic investments in technology designed to improve security and monitor player behavior. For instance, some table games feature chips with built-in microcircuitry that allows the casino to know exactly how much each chip is worth minute by minute, and electronic systems monitor roulette wheels regularly to detect any statistical deviations.

Casinos earn most of their profit from high rollers, a group of gamblers who play large amounts and often spend tens of thousands of dollars in one sitting. These high-stakes gamblers are often rewarded with luxurious hotel rooms, meals and entertainment.