What Is a Casino?


A casino is a place where people can gamble. It may also include a hotel, restaurant, and entertainment venues. Some casinos specialize in specific types of gambling. Others offer a wide range of games, including card games, dice games, and slot machines.

While gambling probably existed as early as primitive protodice and carved knuckle bones, the casino as a place where people could find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century during a gambling craze in Italy. Italian aristocrats would gather in private clubs called ridotti to play a variety of gambling games, even though gambling was technically illegal.

Most casino games have a built-in house edge, which is the statistical advantage that the casino has over players. This advantage can be small – lower than two percent – but over millions of bets it adds up. The casino makes its money by collecting this vig, or rake, on every bet placed. In addition, casino owners earn a profit from the use of their property by charging rent to local businesses.

Studies show that casinos usually bring a negative economic impact to a community, with the exception of bringing in tourist dollars. Casinos are also often associated with lowered property values in surrounding neighborhoods. Critics of casinos argue that they shift spending from other forms of local entertainment and that the cost of treating problem gambling addictions offsets any economic benefits that a casino may bring.