Whether you love to hit the slots, lay it all down on roulette or throw dice at the craps table, a casino is the best place to scratch your gambling itch. Casinos also offer plenty of great food and tasty sips to enjoy while you gamble. And of course, there’s nothing like the raw energy and excitement of a real casino.
The casino concept dates back to ancient times, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice found in archaeological digs. But the modern casino as we know it evolved during the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe and Italian aristocrats held private parties in gaming halls known as ridotti.
These early casinos were small, quaint and upscale, with a focus on high-roller guests. But as America entered the 20th century, more states legalized casino gambling and the industry grew rapidly. Today, there are more than 1,000 casinos worldwide, and 40 U.S. states have some form of legalized casino gambling.
Casinos make money by taking a percentage of each bet, which is called the house edge. This advantage can be very small, less than two percent, but over millions of bets it adds up. The house edge in different games varies, however, and casino owners carefully design their gambling offerings to maximize profits. For example, a roulette wheel may be designed to appeal to smaller bettors and allow the casino to take a lower percentage than on other games, such as blackjack or craps. Casinos also generate a significant amount of income from slot machines and video poker, where the percentage taken by the house is much lower.