What is a Casino?


Casino is an establishment where a variety of games of chance can be played for money. Musical shows, lighted fountains and elaborate themes help to lure in the crowds, but the vast majority of the profits are made by gambling machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and more.

Gambling predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found at the world’s oldest archaeological sites, but casinos as we know them today didn’t emerge until the 16th century. That’s when European noblemen began hosting private gaming salons called ridotti, where they could play a wide variety of gambling games under one roof without the risk of prosecution by local authorities.

Modern casinos offer much more than just slots and table games, with restaurants, hotels, shopping centers and other amenities designed to keep visitors occupied between bets. But the vast bulk of their profits still come from gambling. This article takes a look at the history of casinos, how they operate, some of the most popular games and how they are played, how casinos stay safe and the dark side of the business.

There are few things more important to a casino than its security. Casinos use a variety of technological measures to watch over their patrons, from simple security cameras to sophisticated electronic systems that oversee betting chips with built-in microcircuitry or monitor roulette wheels to discover any statistical deviation from expected results. In addition, the rules and routines of casino games themselves provide natural security measures. A friend of mine worked security in a Vegas casino, and he once told me that he figured out within three months how many people would stand at slot machines soiling themselves because they believed that they were on a winning streak.