What Is a Casino?


A Casino is a place where gambling takes place and it is the main source of profits for the owners. While stage shows, restaurants and free drinks are all part of the attractions that draw patrons, casinos would not exist without games of chance like slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, craps and keno.

Gambling probably existed long before recorded history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice found at the oldest archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. But the idea of a place where multiple forms of gambling could be played under one roof didn’t develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe and wealthy Italian aristocrats gathered in private clubs known as ridotti. These places weren’t technically casinos, but they emphasized gambling and provided an escape from the rigors of daily life.

Today’s casinos feature elaborate security measures that include catwalks in the ceiling above the casino floor that allow surveillance personnel to watch through one-way glass over the tables and slot machines; betting chips with built-in microcircuitry that can be monitored minute by minute; and automated systems that monitor wheel spins to discover any statistical deviation from expected results. But there’s also a more subtle element of security: the routines and patterns of casino games themselves are well understood by casino personnel and often tip off them to any suspicious activity.

Although the gambling industry is a major source of employment, critics say that it isn’t beneficial to a local economy. Economic studies show that gambling revenue shifts spending away from other forms of entertainment and that the cost of treating compulsive gamblers and lost productivity due to their addiction largely offset any economic gains from casinos.