What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games of chance. It may add other luxuries like restaurants, free drinks, stage shows and dramatic scenery to draw patrons, but it is fundamentally a place where money is exchanged for the opportunity to play a game of chance.

Because large amounts of money are involved, casinos have built-in security measures to prevent cheating and stealing, either in collusion or by independent means. Cameras are located throughout the facility, and pit bosses or table managers watch over tables with a broader view, looking for any suspicious betting patterns that could indicate cheating. Elaborate surveillance systems also allow security personnel to track any suspicious patrons, and the footage is recorded on videotape for later review.

While the exact origin of casino gambling is unknown, there is evidence that it has been around for centuries in one form or another. Gambling was a popular pastime in ancient Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, France and Elizabethan England, among other places.

Modern casinos offer a wide range of games, including poker, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and video slots. In addition, many casinos have sports book sections where gamblers can place bets on various sporting events. In the United States, casinos are found in Atlantic City, New Jersey; Las Vegas, Nevada; and on American Indian reservations, where state antigambling laws do not apply.