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What Is a Casino?

A casino (plural casinos) is a gambling establishment, where patrons gamble money or other items of value on games of chance, with the house taking a small percentage of all wagers placed. Casinos may also offer other forms of entertainment such as shows and sports events. They may be found in cities with significant populations of people interested in gambling, such as Las Vegas, or in other places with large numbers of tourists, such as Monte Carlo.

Many casino games have an element of skill, and players who possess sufficient skills can eliminate the inherent long-term advantage of the house. This advantage is called the house edge, and it varies from game to game. In games where the house has a mathematical advantage, such as blackjack and poker, the casino earns money via a commission known as the rake.

Gambling has been part of human culture for millennia, with evidence of dice and spinning tops dating back to 2300 BC in China. Modern casino gambling began in 1978 with the opening of Atlantic City, New Jersey. In the 1980s, casinos spread across America, particularly on American Indian reservations and in states that did not have state laws against it. Today there are more than 3,000 casinos worldwide. Those in the United States are regulated by the federal government. Some are owned by Native American tribes and operate under their sovereignty, while others are operated by private corporations. In some cases, the casinos are combined with hotels and restaurants.