What Is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. It may be combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships and other tourist attractions. Some casinos also host live entertainment events such as stand-up comedy and concerts. The term casino is also used in a broader sense to refer to an entire gambling complex, especially in the United States.

The first modern casinos appeared in the 16th century. They were designed to accommodate a variety of different gambling activities under one roof and capitalized on a growing interest in gaming among Europeans. The term casino is derived from the Italian word for “a small clubhouse.” In this sense, it was originally used to describe private clubs for wealthy people where they could gamble and socialize. When large public gambling houses like ridotti were closed, these smaller casinos thrived.

Security is an important part of any casino, and many casinos have a dedicated staff for this purpose. Usually the security force patrols the casino and responds to calls for assistance or to reports of suspicious or definite criminal activity, while a separate specialized surveillance department operates the cameras.

Many casinos offer free goods or services to players called comps, based on the amount of money they spend at the casino. These can include free hotel rooms, dinners, tickets to shows and even airline and limo service for high rollers. A player must ask a casino employee or someone at the information desk for details.