What is a Casino?


The word Casino is often associated with gambling. However, its etymology dates back to Italy where it denoted a villa or summerhouse, and eventually became connected to various enjoyable activities. These include playing games of chance, watching entertainment shows, eating delicious food and, of course, socializing with friends.

In modern times, casinos are large entertainment complexes that offer an array of casino games and services for their customers. They may feature restaurants, hotels, shopping areas, swimming pools and nightclubs. They also have high-tech surveillance systems that can track and record patron movements inside the facility.

Although gambling probably predates recorded history (astragali and carved six-sided dice have been found in ancient archaeological sites), the idea of a single venue where people could find a variety of different ways to gamble was not fully realized until the 16th century when Italian aristocrats began hosting private parties at places called ridotti [Source: Schwartz]. The mob controlled most casino businesses until real estate investors and hotel chains started buying out their assets. The threat of federal crackdowns and the possible loss of their gaming licenses if any hint of mob involvement was detected made it necessary to keep these business out of the hands of the mob.

Casinos make money by taking a percentage of each bet that is placed in their establishments. This percentage, called the house edge, can be as low as two percent, but it adds up over time and provides the billions of dollars in profit that casinos rake in every year. Some casinos have additional sources of revenue, such as charging admission for some events or selling drinks and snacks to patrons.