What is a Casino?


Casino is a place where people gamble on games of chance (and some skill) for money. Though casinos have other sources of income (musical shows, shopping centers, lighted fountains and replicas of pyramids, towers and other landmarks), the bulk of their profits come from gambling. Games of chance such as slot machines, roulette, baccarat, blackjack, craps, keno and rummy provide the billions in profits that make casinos such popular attractions.

Though gambling has probably existed in some form throughout history (primitive protodice made of cut knuckle bones or even carved six-sided ones are found at ancient archaeological sites), the modern casino as we know it evolved in the 16th century during a gambling craze that swept Europe. Casinos originally consisted of small clubs for rich Italians, called ridotti, where they could play a variety of gambling games in private and escape the ire of the Roman Catholic Church [Source: Schwartz].

Today’s casinos are often huge entertainment complexes with restaurants, hotel rooms, nightclubs and shops. The dazzling lights, glitzy music and flashy shows attract people from all walks of life to try their luck at the gaming tables and slots. Most of the time, gambling is a low-stress activity, but some patrons have been known to become addicted and lose a lot of money. In these cases, a casino may offer help.

Because so much money changes hands within the confines of a casino, security is an important issue. Cameras, guards and electronic surveillance are commonplace in most casinos. Some casinos also offer complimentary items, such as hotel rooms and free meals, to “good” players. These benefits are based on the amount of money a player bets or plays for and the amount of time spent at the casino.