What is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. These casinos may be built near or combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops, and cruise ships. Some of them also host live entertainment, such as stand-up comedy, concerts and sports events. The word casino is derived from the Italian for little house, and originally referred to an officers’ mess (Spanish: casin) or private club (German: Kasino).

Casinos are usually highly profitable businesses that accept bets up to their maximum limit. Because each game has a specific mathematical expectancy of winning, it is rare for casinos to lose money for any extended period. Consequently, they often reward their biggest bettors with free spectacular entertainment, luxury hotel rooms, reduced-fare transportation and other amenities.

Although gambling probably predates recorded history, the modern casino as a place to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not emerge until the 16th century, during a gambling craze that swept Europe. Even then, gambling was often done in private parties called ridotti, where the rich played a variety of games while enjoying food and drink in a social environment.

Today, casino security is usually divided between a physical force that patrols the premises and a specialized department that operates the casino’s closed circuit television system (often referred to as the eye in the sky). Several cameras monitor every table, window and doorway; these are watched by casino personnel in a separate room and can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons.