What Is a Casino?


A casino, also known as a gambling house or kasino, is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Casinos are often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops and/or other tourist attractions. Some states have legalized casinos to encourage tourism and business.

While gambling certainly predates written history, the casino as a collection of various ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century when a gambling craze swept Europe. The first casinos probably developed from the private gaming salons (called ridotti) that Italian aristocrats used to hold in their villas.

Today’s casinos are sophisticated, with high-tech surveillance systems that give security workers a “eye-in-the-sky” view of the entire casino floor at once. They can be adjusted to focus on certain suspicious patrons by security workers in a separate room filled with banks of security monitors. Unlike in the old days when staff watched slot machines by hand, now each machine is wired to a central computer that determines its payouts according to random algorithms programmed into the chips.

Due to the large amounts of money handled within a casino, both patrons and employees may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. That’s why casinos spend a lot of time and money on security measures. Casinos also try to discourage compulsive gambling by limiting access to their facilities and offering treatment for problem gamblers. Economic studies show that casinos actually bring a net negative economic impact to a community, because they divert spending from other forms of local entertainment and the costs associated with treating problem gamblers offset any revenue they generate.