What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment where people play games of chance for money. Modern casinos are like indoor amusement parks for adults, with the bulk of the entertainment and profits coming from games of chance, such as slot machines, blackjack, poker and roulette. Musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate hotels help draw in the crowds, but casinos would not exist without games of chance.

A specialized security department also oversees the games to make sure patrons are not cheating, stealing or taking advantage of others. Besides physical security personnel, these departments use advanced surveillance technologies to keep an eye on everything that goes on in the casino, including what is happening in individual rooms or even specific patrons. These systems are referred to as the “eye in the sky” and can be adjusted by security personnel to focus on suspicious activities or particular rooms.

While the popularity of gambling and casinos continues to grow, critics argue that they do not add much to a city’s economy. They point to studies showing that casinos divert spending from other forms of entertainment, cost communities money to treat problem gamblers and depress economic growth.

While gambling probably exists in some form as far back as ancient protodice or carved knuckle bones, the idea of the casino as a central place for multiple types of gambling did not develop until the 16th century. At that time, a gambling craze swept Europe and Italian aristocrats met in private clubs called ridotti to play games of chance.

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