What Is a Casino?

A Casino is a public place where a variety of games of chance are played. The games are usually regulated by the government. Although casinos are often characterized by their lavishness, many places that house gambling activities could be called casinos. The elegant spa town of Baden-Baden, for example, first attracted wealthy Europeans to its casinos 150 years ago and continues to do so today, with an ambience that evokes the baroque flourishes of Versailles.

In the United States, there are over 1,000 casinos, with the highest concentration in Nevada and New Jersey. In 2003, according to a Gallup poll on gambling activities, 30 percent of those polled said that they had visited a casino in the previous twelve months.

Casinos are designed to lure and keep patrons gambling as long as possible, so they go to great lengths to stimulate the senses of sight, sound, and smell. Humans are particularly attracted to bright lights, which is why over 15,000 miles of neon tubing illuminates the casinos on the Las Vegas strip.

In addition, casinos must be mathematically assured of gross profit from every game they offer. They hire gaming mathematicians to determine the house edge and variance for their games. This allows them to calculate the expected amount of money a player will win at any given point in time, as well as to identify suspicious patterns of play. This information is then used to alert security personnel when something is amiss.