What Is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Traditionally, the term referred to an establishment in Las Vegas, though it now encompasses a number of places around the world. Modern casinos typically combine gambling with other activities such as entertainment, shopping, dining, and nightlife. Casinos may also serve as convention centers and host live events like concerts, sports, and stand-up comedy.

Gambling has been part of human culture for millennia, with the earliest evidence dating back to 2300 BC in China. Cards came onto the scene in the 1400s, and dice appeared about 500 years later, when they were first used for games of chance. Modern casinos offer a wide range of games, including card games like poker and blackjack, as well as dice and wheel games. They also feature other popular games, such as baccarat and craps. The majority of these games are played against the house, and the house edge (the mathematical expectancy of losing money over time) and variance are calculated by teams of mathematicians working for the casino. These people are known as gaming mathematicians and gaming analysts. In addition to their analytical work, they may be responsible for running the casino’s tournaments. These departments are often located in a separate building from the main casino floor. Security at a casino is usually divided between a physical security force and a specialized surveillance department, which operates the casino’s closed circuit television system. They work in close cooperation to prevent crime and promote safe gaming practices.