What Is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. It may be combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops, cruise ships or other tourist attractions. Some casinos may also host live entertainment events such as musical performances and stand-up comedy. The word casino is derived from the Italian noun casina, meaning “small house.” The first casino was built in 1638 at Monte-Carlo, and it became one of the most famous casinos in the world.

While gambling probably predates recorded history, it did not develop into a casino until the 16th century as the result of a craze for the game in Europe. Primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice were found at ancient archaeological sites, but the modern casino evolved around the time of the aristocratic gambling houses in Italy called ridotti [Source: Schwartz].

Most casino games are played with chips that have a set value, which are exchanged for cash by patrons. Casinos make their money by charging a percentage of the total amount of chips wagered. The most common games are blackjack, roulette and craps. Casinos often offer additional table games as well, such as baccarat and the card game trente et quarante in French casinos.

Casinos are also known for their elaborate security measures. Most have surveillance cameras that are wired to a central control room. These are monitored constantly and can spot anomalies. Casinos also follow strict rules about gambling age, and they typically ban minors from their facilities.