What Is a Casino?


A Casino is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. Casinos often add other luxuries such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows to attract customers. Some of the world’s most famous casinos are the Bellagio in Las Vegas, the Casino de Monte Carlo in Monaco and the Casino Baden-Baden in Germany.

Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in archaeological digs, but the casino as a place for people to find a variety of ways to wager under one roof didn’t appear until the 16th century, when gambling crazes swept Europe and Italian aristocrats held private parties called ridotti. [Source: Schwartz]

Today, casinos use high-tech surveillance systems to keep an eye on patrons as they play. Cameras can be positioned to watch every table, window and door, and they can be adjusted by security workers in a separate room filled with banks of monitors. In addition to cameras, other sophisticated technology is used: betting chips with built-in microcircuitry allow the casino to oversee the exact amounts wagered minute by minute; roulette wheels are electronically monitored to discover any statistical deviations; and some slot machines now automatically pay out money based on patterns of behavior.

In addition to the electronic security, some casinos reward “good” players with free hotel rooms, dinners and tickets to shows. They also have policies for comping players, who receive points that can be redeemed for cash or goods. Some critics argue that a casino’s benefits to the local economy are offset by the cost of treating problem gamblers and the loss of productivity in families whose members spend their entire paychecks at the casino.