What is a Casino?



A casino is a large gambling hall that offers various types of games of chance and some that require skill. Casinos are most famous for their poker, craps and blackjack tables, but also offer a variety of other games and machines. They are usually decorated with bright and sometimes gaudy colors that stimulate and cheer gamblers on. The sounds of the machines and people shouting encouragement are part of the experience, as are free drinks and snacks.

Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in ancient archaeological sites. But the modern casino as a place for a variety of gambling opportunities under one roof didn’t develop until the 16th century, during a gambing craze that swept Europe. Italian aristocrats met in private clubs known as ridotti, where they could gamble without fear of legal persecution.

Casinos depend on security for their business. The staff keeps a close eye on patrons and can quickly spot blatant cheating like palming, marking or switching cards or dice. Casinos also use sophisticated surveillance systems to monitor the action from a high overhead “eye in the sky.” Casino cameras are designed to be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons by workers in a room filled with banks of security monitors.

Casinos are popular with tourists, who provide a significant percentage of the revenue for many casinos. However, many state governments have antigambling laws, and casinos often have a tainted image because of mob involvement. Real estate investors and hotel chains with deep pockets eventually bought out the mafia in Reno and Las Vegas, and they now run casinos without mob interference.