What is a Casino?


A casino is a place where people can gamble on various games of chance. It often adds to the gambling experience by providing luxuries such as restaurants, free drinks, stage shows and dramatic scenery. The term casino is most commonly used to refer to a facility in Las Vegas, but it can also describe places that provide a variety of gambling activities under one roof.

Although gambling probably predates recorded history, as evidenced by primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in archaeological sites, the concept of a casino that offers a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not emerge until the late sixteenth century during a gambling craze in Europe. Because large amounts of money are handled within casinos, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion with one another or independently; therefore, casinos spend considerable time, effort and money on security. Cameras located throughout the casinos, for example, help monitor the games and detect any suspicious activity. In addition, the house edge and payout percentages of different games are important considerations.

Until the 1950s, when organized crime figures began to inject mafia cash into Reno and Las Vegas, legitimate businessmen were reluctant to invest in casinos because of their seamy image. But the mobster money helped attract tourists and led to the development of the modern casino industry. The casinos soon spread from Nevada to Atlantic City, New Jersey and other cities. They also appeared on American Indian reservations, where state laws did not prohibit them.