What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment where people can gamble and play games of chance. Many casinos are large and opulent, with a wide variety of casino games and impressive decor. They can also have hotels, restaurants, non-gambling gaming rooms, and other amenities. Almost every country in the world has casinos. In the United States, the largest casinos are in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

Some casinos specialize in particular types of games. For example, some casinos focus on poker and offer tournaments or regular cash games. Others may focus on baccarat and blackjack, which are the most popular table games. Still others concentrate on other Far Eastern games such as sic bo, fan-tan, or pai gow. Most of these games are played on special tables, but some casinos also feature live dealers.

Casinos make money by charging a small percentage of all bets to players, called the house edge or vigorish. This can be as low as two percent, but over millions of bets it adds up quickly. Some casinos add other sources of revenue, such as ticket fees and food sales, to offset this expense.

Some critics of casinos argue that they do not bring economic benefits to the local community, especially if they encourage compulsive gambling. They contend that the cost of treating problem gamblers, and lost productivity from their addiction, offsets any gains from tourism or entertainment revenues. The precise origin of gambling is unknown, but it is believed to have existed in some form in virtually all societies throughout history.