What Is a Casino?



A casino (or gaming house) is an establishment for various forms of gambling. Almost all modern casinos are built and designed around slots, roulette, blackjack, craps, and poker, although other games, such as baccarat, may also be found. In addition, many casinos host live entertainment events such as concerts and stand-up comedy, and some are part of larger hotel and resort complexes.

A large number of states legalize casino gambling, and Nevada is the largest gaming destination in the world. In the United States, most gambling takes place in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Other major gambling destinations include Chicago and Detroit. Casinos are generally open 24 hours a day. In most states, patrons are permitted to gamble in casinos from the age of 21.

Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved knuckle bones found at ancient archaeological sites. However, the casino as a gathering place for people to find multiple ways to gamble under one roof did not emerge until the 16th century during a gambling craze in Europe when wealthy Italian aristocrats would hold private parties called ridotti for their friends and family.

Modern casino design and technology is constantly evolving, with sophisticated surveillance systems now routinely monitoring every table, window, and doorway. High-tech eye-in-the-sky surveillance systems allow security workers to watch the entire casino at once, and cameras can be focused on suspicious patrons from a room filled with banks of monitors. Many casinos also employ a variety of other technologies to detect cheating and theft, such as chip tracking, whereby betting chips contain microcircuitry that enables the casino to oversee bets minute by minute; electronic monitors on blackjack tables to reveal when a dealer has made an error; and wheel-scanning equipment to quickly discover statistical deviations from expected results in games such as roulette.