A casino is a gambling establishment that offers various games of chance. It also features other luxuries such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows. Casinos are most commonly found in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, but they exist in many other places around the world.
The word casino originated from the Italian “casa”, meaning house, and the original casinos were small clubhouses for people to meet in for social occasions. During the second half of the nineteenth century, Europeans began adding to their gambling activities and building structures that were designed specifically for them.
Casinos are generally divided into several specialized departments. These include a physical security force, and a specialized surveillance department that operates the casino’s closed circuit television system. Most casinos also have an information technology (IT) department that oversees the use of computer systems in their operations, and a customer service (CS) department.
A large percentage of casino gambling is done on the tables and in the slot machines. Most games have mathematically determined odds, which ensure that the house has an advantage over the players. This advantage is known as the house edge. In games where skill can influence the outcome, such as poker and baccarat, the house takes a rake (commission) from the winning hands.
In 2005, the average casino gambler was a forty-six-year-old female from a household with an above-average income. According to research conducted by Roper Reports GfK NOP and the U.S. Gaming Panel by TNS, the percentage of Americans who visited casinos increased from about 20% in 1989 to 24% in 2008.