What is a Casino?



A Casino is a place where people go to gamble. Though gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, casinos as places where people could find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof didn’t develop until the 16th century during a gambling craze that swept Europe. At that time, Italian aristocrats often held private parties at venues known as ridotti (rhymes with “dottie,” or dice rooms) to enjoy their favorite pastime.

Casinos are typically designed to dazzle their patrons with their massive halls and aisles, unique ornamentation, and brilliant lighting. They also offer a wide variety of games, including the most popular poker and slot machines, as well as more exotic far Eastern games such as sic bo, fan-tan, and pai gow.

The economic mainstay of modern casinos is the revenue generated by slot machines and video poker. These games have very low house edges compared to other casino games; and the ability to adjust machine payouts allows casinos to control their profit margins. In addition, many casinos have established comps programs that reward loyal patrons with free or discounted food, hotel rooms, drinks, and show tickets.

In order to maximize their profits, casino managers are constantly looking for ways to attract new patrons and encourage existing ones to spend more money. In the past, this was done by offering discounted travel packages and free shows, but in the twenty-first century the industry has shifted towards rewarding big bettors with luxurious inducements such as free luxury suites and limousine service.