What Is a Casino?


A Casino is a gambling establishment that offers games of chance and pays out winnings in exchange for currency. These facilities can be massive resorts, like the Strip in Las Vegas, or more modest venues offering table games, slot machines and other activities. Regardless of size, all casinos must adhere to strict state and federal regulations regarding their management, operations, and security. Casinos generate billions of dollars each year in profits for companies, investors, and Native American tribes. State and local governments also reap revenue from taxes on casino profits.

While the precise origin of gambling is unclear, it has existed in one form or another for thousands of years. From primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice to modern electronic games, the earliest examples are found in archaeological sites around the world. Gambling has always been popular in some societies and forbidden in others. The casino is the modern embodiment of the ancient gambling house.

To ensure the fairness of games, casinos use a variety of measures. Most employ security cameras throughout the facility, and computerized systems keep track of patron activity minute by minute to detect any statistical deviation from expected results. In addition, chips with microcircuitry allow casinos to monitor wagers on table games and alert them to any unauthorized shifts in the action.

In an effort to lure gamblers, many casinos offer comps—free or discounted meals, drinks, shows and other perks. Some use technology to keep track of player spending habits and game play, and some offer clubs that function much like airline frequent-flyer programs. These programs help casinos develop a customer database that can be used for marketing purposes.