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What Is a Casino?

What Is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment that offers patrons the chance to gamble through games of chance or skill. Some casinos specialize in specific games, such as poker or baccarat; others offer a variety of gambling activities, including roulette and blackjack. In addition to offering the typical array of table and slot games, some casinos also feature entertainment venues and dining options.

Casinos earn money by charging a percentage of each bet placed in their machines, known as the house edge. While this advantage is small, it adds up over time and the millions of bets that are made each year. The casino profits from this, plus its generous offers to high bettors, and it is rare for a casino to lose money on its gambling operations for even one day.

The elegant spa town of Baden-Baden first became a playground for European royalty and the aristocracy 150 years ago, and its exquisite casinos remain among the most spectacular in the world. Casinos draw visitors from across Europe and beyond, as well as local residents who take weekend bus trips to gamble.

While casino gambling may date back to primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice, the modern casino as we know it emerged in the 16th century during a craze for gambling that swept Europe. These gaming dens, known as ridotti, were private clubs for the wealthy and often escaped scrutiny by legal authorities. Eventually casinos appeared in cities such as Atlantic City, New Jersey; and, starting in the 1980s, on American Indian reservations that were not subject to state antigambling laws.