What Is a Casino?


A casino is a facility for certain types of gambling. Casinos are often built near or combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships and other tourist attractions. Some casinos are also known for hosting live entertainment events such as stand-up comedy, concerts and sports. Casinos are operated by gaming entities, and some are owned by non-gaming businesses such as airlines and hotel chains. The term is also used for facilities serving other purposes besides gambling, such as meetings, conventions, trade shows and weddings.

Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice (carved knuckle bones) and dice found in archaeological sites. However, the casino as a place where people could find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century. In Europe at this time, wealthy nobles often held private parties called ridotti to gamble. The games played were roulette, baccarat, blackjack and poker, with the house taking a percentage of winnings, which is also known as the rake.

Modern casinos employ many security measures to prevent cheating and other criminal activity. These range from a physical security force to a department specializing in surveillance. Casinos have video cameras that monitor every table, window and doorway. They can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons and analyzed afterward to identify crimes and other anomalies.

Casinos offer a variety of free goods and services to players in order to attract and keep them. These include complimentary meals and drinks, show tickets and hotel rooms. Some casinos even have limo service and airline tickets for high rollers.