What Is a Casino?

A Casino is a gambling establishment that offers various games of chance and has a staff to oversee them. Historically, casinos have also offered entertainment and other amenities designed to attract gamblers. They may be standalone buildings, hotel/casino complexes or even cruise ships. Some casinos specialize in specific types of gambling, such as poker or horse racing. Others offer a more general selection of gambling opportunities.

Traditionally, gambling has been a staple of many cultures throughout history. While primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice are found in archaeological digs, the idea of a centralized casino where a variety of different games could be played didn’t take hold until the 16th century, when Italian aristocrats used to host private parties at places called ridotti. These venues had all the trappings of a modern casino, with free spectacular entertainment, transportation and elegant living quarters.

When most people think of a Casino, they envision a Las Vegas megaresort, glitzy and glamorous with plenty of bright lights, games and fun. However, there are smaller establishments that still house gambling activities and are known as Casinos, too.

In the early days of Nevada’s legalized casinos, organized crime figures injected capital into the businesses with money earned from drug dealing and extortion, helping them overcome their seamy image. Today, Casinos rely on high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” surveillance systems that monitor every table, window and doorway. Statistical deviations from the expected behavior of patrons are detected and flagged for closer scrutiny by security workers in a room filled with banks of screens.