What is a Casino?


Casino is a gambling establishment, offering games of chance and in some cases skill. The games of chance, which include poker, blackjack, roulette, craps, and keno, make up the billions in profits raked in by casinos each year. Though casinos are often designed with fountains, lighted towers, shopping centers and elaborate hotels to attract tourists, they would not exist without the games themselves.

Gambling in some form has existed throughout history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found at archaeological sites around the world. However, the modern casino as we know it was only invented in the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe and Italian aristocrats established private gaming clubs called ridotti.

Most modern casinos are crowded with security cameras and personnel who watch patrons to ensure that everyone follows the expected patterns of behavior. A casino’s security staff is trained to spot blatant cheating such as “palming,” where a player secretly marks or alters a card, and table managers keep a close eye on betting patterns that might indicate someone is trying to steal chips.

Casinos are also equipped with computers that monitor each game and payouts to ensure they are operating correctly. Video surveillance is also used to prevent theft by casino employees. Though the mob once owned a significant number of casinos, stricter state antigambling laws and the rise of large real estate investors and hotel chains with deep pockets drove the mobsters out. Today’s casinos are largely controlled by private corporations, with the exception of some American Indian casinos, which are not subject to state antigambling laws.