What Is a Casino?


A casino, also known as a gaming house or a gambling establishment, is an establishment where patrons can gamble by playing games of chance or skill. It also provides a place for entertainment, such as concerts and stand-up comedy, as well as dining and accommodations. In some jurisdictions, casinos are licensed and regulated by government agencies.

The modern casino originated in the 16th century, during a time when a gambling craze swept Europe. Wealthy nobles gathered in private rooms, called ridotti, where they could enjoy a variety of games of chance and skill. These rooms were often situated within larger buildings, like palaces or villas.

Casinos make most of their money by accepting bets from patrons, with the goal of winning a certain amount of money over an extended period of time. This amount is determined by the odds of each game and may be influenced by the skill or incompetence of the players. Since the casino’s goal is to generate revenue, it can afford to offer big bettors extravagant inducements, such as free spectacular entertainment and luxurious living quarters. Lesser bettors are offered reduced-fare transportation, hotel rooms, free drinks and cigarettes while gambling and other perks.

A casino is typically staffed by security personnel who watch over the activities of patrons and staff to prevent cheating, stealing, or other irregularities. Some of these casinos employ sophisticated eye-in-the-sky systems that allow security staff to monitor all activities from a room filled with banks of security cameras.