What Is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. These places often have other amenities, such as restaurants, resorts, shopping areas and/or live entertainment. In some cases, the casino is an independent facility, while in others it is part of a hotel or other large complex. The word casino is derived from the Italian word for “little house.” The term was likely first used to describe an exclusive clubhouse for members of a particular social or business society during the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe and led to the development of the modern game of roulette [Source: Schwartz].

Today, most casinos feature a wide variety of games, from traditional table games such as blackjack and trente et quarante in French-speaking casinos, to poker variants and video poker machines. Many casinos also feature a variety of other popular games, such as sic bo (which became very popular in several European and American casinos during the 1990s), fan-tan and pai gow.

Most modern casinos offer a number of security measures to ensure the safety and integrity of patrons and property. These may include a physical security force, patrolling the casino floor, and a specialized surveillance department, operating the gaming rooms’ closed circuit television system, commonly called an eye in the sky. The cameras are usually positioned to watch every table, window and doorway; a casino’s security staff can adjust them to focus on suspicious activities. This technology is particularly helpful in preventing cheating, as it provides proof that the casino has not been tampered with during a game.