What Is a Casino?


A casino is a building or room where gambling games are played. Modern casinos are often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops and cruise ships. The word is derived from the Latin cazino, meaning “little house.” Casino has also become a synonym for gambling establishment and gambling game.

Aside from their obvious gambling attractions, casinos try to attract visitors with a variety of perks and special deals. Many offer free drinks, food and stage shows. In the past, Las Vegas casinos offered deeply discounted travel packages and cheap buffets to encourage people to visit.

Although most people think of the large hotel-casino complexes in Las Vegas when they think of a casino, there are more than 1,000 casinos around the world. Some are owned by large corporations, some by Indian tribes and others by governments or private owners.

Most casino games have some element of skill, but the outcome is usually determined by chance. The house always has a slight advantage over the players, and this is mathematically determined by the odds of each game. In a casino, the house edge is sometimes called the “vig.”

Casinos are primarily entertainment centers, with the vast majority of their profits derived from gambling. Some are built in spectacular locations, such as the Casino di Venezia in Venice, Italy, which is one of the oldest and most famous casinos. Others are located in cities that have a strong tourism industry, such as Atlantic City, New Jersey and Chicago, Illinois.