What is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment where games of chance are played for money. While musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and lavish hotels are used to attract customers, casinos would not exist without the billions of dollars that are raked in from wagering on slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and other games.

The word “casino” has a storied history, going back to the Italian city of Casin, where people gathered to play various games of chance in the 18th century. The modern casino is like an indoor amusement park for adults, and while some gamblers might prefer to spend their time at a local bingo hall or poker club, the majority of casino patrons are there to try their luck with slot machines, card tables and other games of chance.

Although casino gamblers are often tempted to cheat and steal, in either collusion or on their own, most casinos have measures in place to prevent this from happening. Security personnel usually patrol the casino floor and a specialized surveillance department monitors the entire casino from catwalks in the ceiling, known as an eye-in-the sky. Table managers and pit bosses also keep a close eye on their own areas of the casino to make sure no one is stealing or cheating.

Casinos are huge businesses, and their profits have helped fuel the growth of tourism in many cities and states, including Las Vegas and Atlantic City, New Jersey, where casinos are the primary economic drivers. Many other cities and countries have legalized casinos because of their ability to draw in large numbers of tourists from other parts of the country and around the world.