What Is a Casino?



A casino is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. It also offers a variety of other entertainment activities, such as restaurants, stage shows, and free drinks. A casino also features an ample selection of slot machines. In the US, there are hundreds of casinos. You can find one near you using our US Casino Map.

While gambling likely predates recorded history, the casino as a place where patrons could find a range of gambling activities under one roof probably did not emerge until the 16th century. In that period, Europeans loved to gamble, and Italian aristocrats often hosted parties at their homes called ridotti where they would play gambling-related games. Although technically illegal, these parties were not interfered with by authorities and the rich enjoyed their games of chance.

With large amounts of money handled by staff and patrons, casinos are prone to cheating and theft. To combat these problems, most have extensive security measures. Elaborate surveillance systems allow security personnel to watch every table, window, and door in a given casino at once. The cameras can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons.

In addition to security, casinos are a major source of employment and income in many communities. They can generate significant tax revenues. However, critics point out that casino revenues can pull dollars from other local business and entertainment, and the costs of treating compulsive gamblers can offset any economic benefits a casino may bring to a community.