What is a Casino?


A casino is a place where a variety of gambling games are offered under one roof. Though gambling probably predates recorded history, the casino as a centralized location for many different kinds of betting seems to have developed in the 16th century, during a period when a popular craze for gambling took hold. Even today, the word casino conjures up images of flashing lights, glamorous girls and crowded tables.

A few casinos have an element of skill, such as baccarat, but most games are purely random chance. Every game has a built in advantage for the house that is typically lower than two percent (though it can vary). This edge is how casinos earn their money and it’s what gives them the means to offer extravagant inducements to big bettors, including free spectacular entertainment and luxury hotel rooms.

Something about gambling seems to encourage people to try to cheat, steal or scam their way into a jackpot, so casinos devote a lot of time and effort on security. Casinos also employ a lot of technology, including video cameras and sophisticated monitoring systems that allow them to see what’s happening at the tables from above or below. In addition to watching the game, these cameras can record and monitor the betting patterns of the players — this helps them spot when someone is taking advantage or trying to cheat. These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘casino.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors.