What is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment that offers games of chance for money. Successful casinos bring in billions of dollars every year for the companies, investors, and Native American tribes that own and operate them. They also provide the entertainment – like musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers – that draws in gamblers. But it’s the games of chance that make casinos what they are. Slot machines, craps, blackjack, baccarat and other games of chance give casinos the statistical edge that allows them to profit from the millions of bets made each year by players.

Despite the enormous success of Las Vegas and other casino destinations, the history of the modern casino can be traced back only a few hundred years. Early examples include carved dice found in the oldest archaeological sites and, more recently, private parties called ridotti held by wealthy Italian aristocrats [Source: Schwartz].

Casino gaming has become hugely popular in the United States. While there are many reasons for this, some of the biggest factors are state laws allowing for the establishment of new casinos, and the popularity of the games themselves. In addition, casino gambling is often a social activity. Gamblers are typically surrounded by other people as they play table games or slot machines, and they shout encouragement to each other. Waiters float around the room and offer alcoholic beverages and nonalcoholic drinks.

In 2005, the average casino patron was a forty-six-year-old female from a household with an above-average income. This demographic accounted for 23% of all casino visitors, according to research conducted by Roper Reports GfK NOP and the U.S. Gambling Panel by TNS. Those with lower incomes and less leisure time, however, are a growing segment of the casino industry.