What is a Casino?

A Casino is a place where people can find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof. The concept may be as simple as a collection of gaming rooms, or it may add such luxuries as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows. Gambling has been around for a long time, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice found in the oldest archaeological sites. The modern casino, however, really took off in the 16th century with the rise of a gambling craze in Europe. The first government-sanctioned gambling house, known as a ridotto, was opened in Venice, Italy. It offered primitive card games and baccarat, but it was the first to attract many patrons and make money.

While legitimate businessmen were reluctant to get involved in casinos, organized crime figures saw the potential profits and became involved with many of them. Mob money flowed steadily into Reno and Las Vegas, and the mafia often had sole or partial ownership of the casinos. This helped give the casinos a seamy image, which many Americans still have today.

In the twentieth century, casinos began focusing on customer service. They developed programs called comps, which gave frequent patrons free room stays, meals, drinks and show tickets. Casinos also began concentrating on high rollers, who gamble for much higher stakes than the average person and earn special treatment and perks. To attract these players, casino staffers arrange games in a maze-like fashion so that wandering patrons are constantly enticed by more gambling choices. Casinos are also attractive to the senses of sight and sound; they use bright colors, gaudy floor and wall coverings, and bells and whistles to attract attention.