What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment that offers table games and slot machines. It may also offer live entertainment, luxury accommodations and top-rated restaurants. Casinos can be found worldwide and are often built around a theme. Some are renowned for their elegance and sophistication; others are known for their high-stakes gambling and have been featured in popular movies.

The exact origin of the word is unclear, but it was probably derived from a Latin word meaning “to gamble.” Gambling in some form has been a part of human society throughout history. Early civilizations used dice, abacuses and other devices to determine the outcome of events. Modern casinos are regulated and licensed by governments to operate legal gambling houses. The first government-sanctioned casino was opened in Venice, Italy, in 1638. It was called the Ridotto, and it was a four-story building with various rooms for primitive card games and a selection of food and drinks to keep the patrons happy. [Source: Schwartz]

During the 1990s, casinos began opening in more states. In addition, many American Indian reservations have casinos. Some of these are open to the public, while others are only accessible by invitation from a tribal leader.

Modern casinos employ a variety of technologies to ensure the integrity of their gaming operations. For example, cameras are used to monitor the behavior of patrons. Additionally, some casinos use sophisticated security systems such as “chip tracking,” where betting chips have a microcircuitry that allows them to be monitored minute-by-minute for statistical deviations from expected results.