What Is a Casino?

A Casino is a gambling establishment that provides a variety of games of chance for patrons. It can be quite lavish in its accommodations, offering everything from restaurants to free drinks and stage shows. Some of the most famous casinos in the world are located on the Las Vegas Strip, where they can draw in visitors for a combination of gambling and glamour. Others are more traditional, such as the elegant spa town of Baden-Baden.

While gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, the casino as a place where patrons could find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof didn’t develop until the 16th century. During that time, gambling crazes were sweeping Europe and Italian aristocrats would gather at private parties known as ridotti to play card and dice games [Source: Poley]. While these venues were technically illegal, they rarely came under the scrutiny of authorities.

Modern casinos use elaborate surveillance systems to keep an eye on all the action. These include catwalks that allow security personnel to look down through one-way glass on all the tables and slots from a secure room. Cameras mounted to the ceiling give a bird’s-eye view of the entire floor, and can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons.

While the casinos offer a wide variety of games, the biggest moneymakers are the slot machines. Their built-in statistical advantage can be lower than two percent, but it adds up over the millions of bets placed by patrons.