What is a Casino?


A casino, also known as a gambling house or gaming hall, is an establishment for gambling. Most casinos have table games like blackjack and roulette, as well as slot machines. A casino may also offer other attractions such as shows, concerts and sports events. It is often part of a larger complex of hotels, restaurants and shopping areas. Casinos are regulated by the government.

Gambling in some form probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in archaeological sites. The modern casino probably began as a small private clubhouse for Italian aristocrats, who held social parties at houses called ridotti [Source: Schwartz]. As the casino concept spread throughout Europe and beyond, aristocrats sought to create facilities where they could play all their favorite gambling games under one roof.

The economics of modern casinos are based on the notion that each game has a mathematical expectation of winning, meaning that the house always makes a profit. To ensure this, all games are carefully regulated by the governments in which they operate.

Security is an important component of casino operations, with a physical force usually patrolling the premises and responding to reports of suspicious or definite criminal activity. Besides this, specialized departments monitor the activities of each game. These departments use technology to ensure that all players are playing their cards correctly, putting down chips in the correct order, and not tampering with equipment. In addition, some of the more popular table games in casinos have built-in microcircuitry to track the exact amount of money wagered minute by minute and warn the floor managers of any deviation from expected outcomes. These systems are often called chip tracking or table management systems. In return for this virtual assurance of gross profit, many casinos reward the largest bettors with free spectacular entertainment, meals and hotel rooms. They may even provide limo service and airline tickets.