What Is a Casino?

A casino is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. The modern casino is like an indoor amusement park for adults, with most of the entertainment (and profits for the owner) coming from gambling. Slot machines, black jack, roulette, craps, keno and baccarat provide the billions in profits that casinos rake in every year. While musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and lavish hotels help draw the crowds, casinos wouldn’t exist without these games of chance.

Although gambling probably existed as early as recorded history, the casino as a venue where patrons could find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof didn’t emerge until the 16th century. During this time, a gambling craze swept Europe, and Italian aristocrats would gather at private clubs called ridotti to gamble and socialize. Gambling was technically illegal at the time, but authorities rarely bothered these private venues [Source: Schwartz].

While the term casino is often used to describe an entire gaming complex, many casinos are much smaller. The largest casino in America, for example, is in Ledyard, Connecticut, and is operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Indian tribe. It features 4.7 million square feet of gaming space and boasts 17 different kinds of table games, over 400 slot machines and a two-story arcade.

While casinos are a lot of fun, they can also be dangerous places. Gambling addiction is a real problem, and even legal gamblers can get carried away. To combat these issues, most casinos employ elaborate security measures. Casinos are wired for surveillance, and employees watch patrons carefully to spot any suspicious activities.