Casino, also known as a gambling house or a gaming room, is an establishment where people can gamble. The games played in a casino are usually regulated by law or the rules of the casino. Casinos often feature various table games and slot machines, but they may also offer sports betting or horse racing. Some casinos specialize in certain types of games, such as baccarat and blackjack. Others have a more eclectic collection of games.
While gambling probably existed long before written records, the modern casino as an all-in-one place to gamble did not develop until the 16th century. Prior to that, gambling was conducted in private clubs known as ridotti and was a regular pastime of European nobility.
Most casino games have a mathematical advantage for the house, referred to as the house edge. This advantage can be reduced for specific games through careful play, such as basic strategy in blackjack and poker. The house edge can also be increased by taking a commission on bets, a practice known as raking.
To ensure a profit, casinos offer a variety of inducements to patrons. These can include free spectacular entertainment, lavish hotel rooms, and even reduced-fare transportation. They also use bright, sometimes gaudy floor and wall coverings that are thought to stimulate the senses and make gamblers forget about the time. According to a 2005 survey by Roper Reports GfK and TNS, the typical casino gambler is a forty-six year old woman from a household with an above-average income.