What is a Casino?

A casino is a place where people gamble on games of chance. It’s an exciting place to visit and it brings in lots of money for the owners. While musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers are popular draws, casinos would not exist without the millions of bets placed on slot machines, blackjack, roulette and other games of chance. This edge, which can be as low as two percent, generates enough revenue to finance hotel suites, restaurants and replicas of the world’s most famous buildings.

Gambling probably dates back to the beginning of human history, with primitive protodice made from cut knuckle bones and carved six-sided dice found at some of the oldest archaeological sites. But casinos as a place for people to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century when a gambling craze swept Europe and wealthy Italians began throwing parties called ridotti in which gambling was the primary activity. These venues were not technically legal, but the Italian aristocrats who patronized them did not get bothered by the authorities.

Although many people who play casino games are not addicted to gambling, it is possible to become hooked on the thrill of trying to win. Studies suggest that five percent of casino patrons are addicted, and they generate 25 percent of a casino’s profits [Source: PBS]. The financial costs of treating problem gamblers and lost workplace productivity more than offset any casino’s economic benefits to a community.