What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment that offers customers the opportunity to gamble on games of chance or skill. These games include blackjack, poker, craps, roulette, and video slot machines. Customers can also find entertainment at a casino, such as concerts and comedy shows. Most casinos have security measures in place to prevent theft and cheating by patrons and staff. These measures may include cameras in public areas, employee vigilance, and special rewards programs that offer free or discounted food, drinks, and room service to big spenders.

Some casinos have high-tech “eyes-in-the-sky” surveillance systems that allow security personnel to watch everything at once from a control room far above the casino floor. The system can be directed to focus on specific tables, rooms, or other suspicious activities. Other casinos have catwalks that allow security personnel to look directly down, through one-way glass, on the activity taking place at each table or slot machine.

The first casinos were established in the second half of the 19th century, when people began to travel widely and take advantage of railroad and steamship services. The popularity of gambling led to the opening of many new casinos, especially in Nevada, where the law permitted it. Casinos also popped up on American Indian reservations, which were not subject to state antigambling laws. By the 1980s, many states had changed their laws to permit casinos. In the 21st century, casinos have become even more sophisticated in their efforts to lure gamblers. They use bright lights and elaborate signs to attract attention, and they often employ multiple strategies to entice players to gamble.