What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment that offers an array of games, from traditional table games to video poker and even live dealer games. Casinos are a major source of revenue for some cities, and they are often a draw for tourists. However, there are some controversies surrounding the economic benefits of casinos. Critics point out that local casinos actually divert money away from other entertainment options, and that the costs of treating gambling addictions offset any profits they may generate.

The concept of the casino as a place for gamblers to find a variety of games under one roof probably didn’t develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. At that time, wealthy nobles gathered in their own private gambling clubs, called ridotti, to enjoy their favorite pastime.

Modern casinos use technology to supervise their games and prevent cheating, theft and other security violations. For example, in chip tracking, betting chips contain microcircuitry that interacts with electronic systems to reveal minute-by-minute wager amounts; roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly to detect any deviation from the expected results; and slot machine payouts are determined randomly by computer chips inside each machine. Cameras in the ceiling provide a bird’s-eye view of every table, window and doorway, and can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons by surveillance workers stationed in a room filled with banks of security monitors.

In addition to these technological safeguards, casinos enforce rules of conduct and behavior. They also reward loyal players with free goods and services such as hotel rooms, dinners, tickets to shows and limo service. These perks are known as comps. Ask a casino employee or someone at the information desk how to qualify for these privileges.