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What Is a Casino?

What Is a Casino?

As disposable income increases all over the world and gambling becomes more mainstream, more casinos are opening up to attract a global clientele. While the casino definition varies somewhat, a casino in general is a place where a variety of games of chance are played and gambling is the primary activity. Casinos often include stage shows, restaurants and free drinks, as well as slot machines and table games. In the United States, where the casino industry has its largest base, casinos are regulated by state law and have to meet certain standards.

While gambling predates recorded history, the casino as a collection of various gaming activities didn’t emerge until the 16th century during the Italian Renaissance gambling craze [Source: Schwartz]. The term derives from the word ridotto, which means clubhouse or private party. The casinos of the time were a meeting place for Italian nobles and affluent citizens, and because they were privately run, they weren’t subject to the scrutiny of local legal authorities.

The modern casino’s main source of revenue comes from table games, such as roulette and craps, that require a house advantage of less than two percent. In addition, casinos make money by charging a percentage of the winnings on some games, such as video poker and blackjack, to players who lose. The casino’s profit margin is also known as the vig or rake.

Casinos also have some perks to encourage play, such as free hotel rooms and meals, tickets to shows and even limo service or airline tickets for big spenders. These benefits are sometimes called comps.