What is a Casino?
A Casino is a place where various types of gambling take place. Although gambling probably predates recorded history, the modern casino as a place where patrons can find all types of gambling under one roof – including roulette, blackjack, baccarat, craps, keno and poker – did not emerge until the 16th century. Until then, wealthy Europeans gathered to gamble in private rooms known as ridotti.
While the main attraction is still the gambling, many casinos are attached to prime dining and drinking facilities as well as performance venues for pop, rock, jazz and more. Some are so elaborately designed that they are like indoor amusement parks for adults, complete with dazzling fountains, giant pyramids, towers and replicas of famous landmarks.
In terms of revenue, Las Vegas is the largest casino market in the United States. It is followed by Atlantic City, New Jersey and Chicago. Native American gaming has also contributed to a rise in casinos outside the major markets.
Casinos make money by taking a small advantage on every bet placed. The exact amount is relatively small, ranging from less than two percent on roulette to a few cents on a video poker machine, but it adds up. To offset this, casinos have elaborate surveillance systems that allow security personnel to watch every table, change window and doorway from a room filled with banks of cameras called an eye-in-the-sky. If a cheat or crime is suspected, the tapes can be reviewed to track down the culprit.