A casino is a gambling establishment offering games of chance and some games of skill. Typically it offers tables, slot machines and other gaming equipment in addition to restaurant and hotel services. A casino might also offer stage shows, dazzling décor and other amenities to attract customers.
Casinos make money by imposing an advantage on players, known as the house edge or vig (for short). That advantage can be very small — less than two percent — but it adds up over millions of bets and is enough to allow casinos to build elaborate hotels, fountains and replicas of famous towers and pyramids. Casinos also make money by charging a “rake” or commission for poker, blackjack and other table games.
While many casinos race to be the biggest in their region or even the world, they all share certain characteristics. These include a large number of game choices, high-end restaurants and hotel suites. And of course, those glamorous entertainers who grace the stages and lobbies.
The origin of the word is unknown, but gambling has been around since prehistoric times and has continued to be a major industry throughout history. Today, most societies have legalized gambling and casinos are commonplace.