What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment where people can gamble in a variety of ways. The word “casino” is derived from the Italian word for “private house,” and this is what the original casinos were: small clubs where rich Italian aristocrats would meet for social parties. Gambling almost certainly predates records of human existence, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice turning up in the most ancient archaeological finds. But the idea of a place where a wide range of games could be found under one roof didn’t develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe.

The modern casino is a giant entertainment complex, with dancing fountains, luxurious hotels and top-flight restaurants all drawing in the crowds. But the bulk of the profits a casino generates comes from its games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and keno generate the billions in profits that casinos rake in every year.

Casino security starts on the casino floor, where employees keep their eyes peeled for any blatant cheating. Dealers are especially vigilant, keeping their hands on the cards as they deal and watching for any suspicious betting patterns. And pit bosses and table managers have a broader view, looking for any sign that players are colluding with each other or trying to rig the game. There are also more subtle signs to look for, like a player not reacting in the expected way to winning or losing. Observing these subtleties is what allows the security staff to spot cheating, and it is why casinos are heavily regulated.