A casino, also known as a gambling establishment or a gaming house, is a facility where people can play a variety of games of chance for money. The word casino derives from the Latin caissa, meaning “to risk”. Casinos have evolved into complex entertainment destinations that often include hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, spas, and other amenities in addition to the gambling floor. Some casinos are designed with a historical or architectural flair while others are sleek and modern.
The earliest known casino was in the Principality of Monaco and opened in 1863. It was the first institution in Europe to offer casino gambling and became an international model for similar institutions throughout the world. Casinos are legal in many jurisdictions worldwide and are regulated by government agencies. In the United States, the most famous are in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Some American Indian reservations also operate casinos.
Various casino table games are offered at most casinos. These include baccarat (in its popular variant chemin de fer), blackjack, roulette, and poker. The majority of casino table games are based on chance, but some have an element of skill. Unlike slot machines, casino table games do not have preset payout amounts; each game has a mathematically determined advantage for the casino that is known as the house edge or expected value. In games such as poker where patrons play against each other, the casino makes its profit by taking a percentage of each pot or charging an hourly fee.
In addition to the usual table games, most casinos also feature a number of video poker machines. These have a high return to player percentage and are the economic backbone of many modern casinos. Moreover, many casinos have hired mathematicians and computer programmers who specialize in analyzing gaming data to improve the odds of their games.
Because of the large sums of money involved, casinos must protect their patrons from cheating and theft, either in collusion or on an independent basis. Security measures usually include cameras and staff patrols. The casino industry is also concerned about the potential for organized crime to infiltrate and exploit its patrons.
While gambling is a key part of the appeal for most casino visitors, it only makes up a small portion of what the facilities have to offer. Restaurants, bars, shops, spas, and even museums are sometimes found inside casinos or adjacent to them. Casinos are also becoming increasingly family-friendly as they strive to attract more than just the core gambling demographic. For these reasons, some gamblers see casinos as more of a vacation destination than just a place to play some slots and table games. Hence, some casinos are now being marketed as “casino resorts.”.