What Is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment where gambling takes place. It is also known as a gaming house, or a “gambling den.” Casinos are often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and entertainment venues. Some casinos are owned by governments, while others are operated by private companies. Some casinos specialize in specific types of gambling, such as poker, baccarat, and roulette. All casinos are required to have a license to operate, and many have additional regulations that must be followed.

Gambling at a casino involves both luck and skill, but it’s mostly luck. Most games of chance have a mathematically determined advantage for the house, called the house edge or expected value. Statistical deviations from this expected value are recorded and used by mathematicians to help casinos predict their profits. In addition to the house edge, a casino collects an additional income from gamblers in the form of a rake or commission. Casinos may offer players complimentary goods or services, called comps, to encourage them to play.

The casino industry is highly lucrative, and it attracts people from all walks of life. The swank Casino Lisboa in Lisbon, Portugal, is the largest casino in Europe and boasts a two-tier casino with over 1,000 slot machines, three restaurants, and a theater for live performances. Other casinos entice visitors with spa and golf facilities, floor shows, and shopping centers featuring Chanel and Hermes. The promise of increased employment for local residents is another selling point to communities considering a casino. But this increase in skilled labor isn’t necessarily realized in all cases. Many of the new workers are hired from outside the community, so the unemployment rate for the original population remains unchanged.