What is a Casino?


A Casino is a place where people gamble and play games of chance, with the primary goal of providing entertainment to patrons. While something like a casino may seem as simple as a place that has a variety of gambling activities under one roof, the reality is much more elaborate than that. In addition to having a variety of gaming tables, slot machines and other gambling devices, casinos typically offer restaurants, free drinks, stage shows and more to entice players to gamble away their money.

While the earliest forms of gambling probably predate recorded history, the modern casino as we know it developed in Europe in the 16th century during a gambling craze that began in Italy and quickly spread throughout the continent. At that time, the wealthy aristocracy of Europe would meet in private gambling houses called ridotti to play cards and dice. [Source: Schwartz] These places, though legal in principle, were really private clubs that allowed the wealthy to engage in gambling without being bothered by officials.

As casinos became more popular in America, the mob started pouring money into them. Though the mobsters were reluctant to take sole or partial ownership of the casinos, they provided the funds and the management talent that made them successful. As federal crackdowns on mob activities grew, legitimate businessmen with deeper pockets bought out the mobsters and began running their own casinos.

Today’s casinos use everything from bright and sometimes gaudy floor and wall coverings to loud noise and flashing lights to encourage their guests to gamble. They also reward “good” gamblers with comps, which can include things like free rooms and meals, tickets to shows, limo service and airline tickets.