The Casino – The Entertainment Complex With Restaurants, Shops and Entertainment Venues

Casino is an entertainment complex with restaurants, shops and entertainment venues, with gambling being the main activity. Its lights, sounds and the adrenaline rush of winning or losing are what draw people to this popular pastime, which is believed by many to have originated with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice found in ancient archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. While casinos offer more than just games of chance, such as roulette, blackjack, craps, baccarat and slot machines, they wouldn’t exist without the billions of dollars that these games generate for the casinos’ owners, investors and local governments that collect taxes and fees from gamblers.

Modern casinos are designed to be like an indoor amusement park, with lighted fountains and hotels with elaborate themes that are often inspired by Venice, Monte Carlo and other popular destinations. While musical shows, ice sculptures and shopping centers help to attract visitors, they’re not enough on their own to offset the high operating costs of casinos, which often run in the millions of dollars per week.

In 2002, about 51 million people, or roughly one quarter of the United States over age 21, visited casinos, according to the American Gaming Association. This figure includes those who play for free, as well as the more than three-quarters of the country’s legal gambling establishments that charge money to patrons. Casinos make their profits by charging a percentage of every bet placed, referred to as the “vigorish” or the “rake,” for the games of chance. This can range from less than two percent, which is the advantage offered by roulette to a low of 1.4 percent for some casino games such as craps.