What Is a Casino?


A casino is a building or room where gambling games are played. The casino industry is massive and has grown into an international phenomenon with billions of dollars raked in by its owners every year. Musical shows, lighted fountains and elaborate hotels help to draw in the crowds, but casinos would not exist without gambling games like blackjack, roulette, craps, keno, baccarat and slot machines.

The word casino derives from the Italian “casona,” which means a small clubhouse for social events. The idea spread throughout Europe as people either thought of the idea themselves or copied it from the Italians. By the second half of the 19th century, large public gambling houses were being shut down and the newer casino concept was gaining popularity.

Modern casinos have much more to offer than just a few types of gambling games. They feature hotels, restaurants, non-gambling game rooms, bars and swimming pools to appeal to the entire family. Casinos are also famous for their impressive size and decor.

With millions of visitors a year, a lot goes into maintaining a high-quality casino experience. Security is a huge priority, with most casinos employing cameras and other surveillance technology throughout the building. In the past, casinos were often associated with organized crime, but as real estate developers and hotel chains began opening their own facilities, they were able to compete with mob-owned casinos and gain legitimacy. Even so, the presence of large amounts of money can sometimes encourage patrons to cheat or steal, either in collusion with others or on their own.