A casino is a building where people can gamble and play games of chance. It may be a small clubhouse, a large hotel or an elaborate entertainment venue.
Originally a word used in Italy for a villa, summerhouse or social club, casino has since spread throughout Europe and is now most commonly associated with gambling establishments. The word first appeared in European literature in the 16th century.
Casinos are located in many countries, and their popularity is increasing. In the United States, the Las Vegas Valley and Atlantic City have the largest concentration of casinos.
In America, slot machines and video poker are the most common games played in casinos. They provide a steady income based on high volume and rapid play at sums from five cents to a dollar.
Blackjack and baccarat, the principal gambling card games in Europe, are also widely played at casinos. Roulette is the most popular casino game in France, where casinos take only a small percentage of each bet. In the Americas, most American casinos have tables for roulette, but they have a much larger percentage of each bet than European casinos.
Comps, a free good or service given to “good” players by the casino, are another way to attract customers. These include hotel rooms, dinners, tickets to shows and even limo and airline tickets.
The word “casino” comes from the Italian for “house of cards.” Some of the world’s most extravagantly outfitted casinos are located in Baden-Baden, Germany, where visitors can sample a variety of roulette and blackjack tables, or play poker against other patrons. These lavishly decorated casinos are known for their luxurious interiors and overflowing bars.