What You Need to Know About a Casino

Beneath the flashing lights and free drinks, casinos stand on a bedrock of mathematics, engineered to slowly bleed patrons. Mathematically inclined minds have long sought to turn the tables, using their knowledge of probability and game theory to exploit weaknesses in rigged systems.

Most games in casinos have mathematically determined odds. These are called house edges. The casino earns money by taking a commission from the player’s wager, which is known as the rake.


The origins of casino date back to the 17th century when Venice in Italy first opened a place that was like modern casinos. It was called the Ridotto, and it offered controlled gambling. The government supported it by collecting hefty taxes. However, the Church did not take kindly to gambling and forced the establishment to close in 1774. The concept of casino spread throughout Europe, and games such as roulette and vingt-et-un became popular.

Casinos grew in popularity in post-Renaissance Europe when nobility became increasingly wealthy and bored with their daily toil. With little else to do, they turned to hunting, gambling, and other pursuits to entertain themselves. These activities helped them pass time, while also providing a source of income for the upper class.


Casinos have many functions, including serving as venues for gambling and entertainment. They attract gamblers from all walks of life and fascinate people who don’t gamble themselves. They are also a major source of revenue for governments, with millions of dollars passed through them daily. In addition, casinos employ security guards to oversee the safety of patrons and assets. They observe and deter unsafe behavior and escort unruly patrons from the property. They also repair broken machines and deliver large payouts that require tax documentation to winning patrons.

Despite the fact that all casino games have a mathematical expectancy of losing money, they make huge profits from the bets placed by their patrons. In order to keep their profits high, they offer big bettors extravagant inducements such as free spectacular entertainment, luxurious transportation and elegant living quarters.


A casino must be licensed and follow strict regulations to ensure fairness. For example, it cannot accept payments that are illegal under local law. This includes credit cards and bank transfers. In addition, casinos must disclose their financial records. The UIGEA also requires banks and credit card companies to block transactions from persons engaging in illegal gambling activities.

A casino must have a primary set of value chips and a secondary set of non-value chips at all times. Each chip must be a different color. A minimum of one dealer must be assigned to each blackjack, roulette, baccarat and mini-baccarat table. In addition, a minimum of two floor persons must supervise each pai gow poker, big six and baccarat table.


While winning at the casino might seem like a fun way to spend money, you need to be aware that your gambling winnings are subject to tax. Winnings from games such as bingo, poker tournaments, keno, lotteries and horse racing are all considered taxable income. The same goes for prizes won in raffles and other competitions.

Taxing casinos can be tricky for governments, who want to benefit from the hefty sums they generate but don’t want to discourage new business. This delicate balance sees states tinker with their rates from time to time.

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