What is a Casino?


The casino, or gambling house, has been a feature of many societies throughout history, with evidence dating back to Mesopotamia and the Roman Empire. In the modern world casinos have become a major tourist attraction with opulent suites, spas and fine dining alongside roulette wheels and blackjack tables. These spectacular edifices can be found around the world from Monaco to Macau. But you don’t have to be a high roller to enjoy them; even the most casual of gamblers can find something to entertain themselves with, from free drinks and stage shows to dramatic scenery.

The precise origin of the word casino is unclear, but it has been used at least since the 1850s to describe a place where various types of gambling can be enjoyed. The name is probably derived from the Latin for ‘house’ or ‘room’, but in its most basic form it refers to any establishment where gambling takes place.

Some casinos add extra amenities to attract patrons, such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows. Others focus on security, with rules to prevent cheating by either patrons or staff. Casinos may use surveillance cameras to watch the games, and some have catwalks that allow surveillance personnel to look down through one-way glass at table and slot machines.

The largest concentration of casinos is in the Las Vegas Valley, although they can be found in other cities as well. There are also casinos on American Indian reservations, which are not subject to state antigambling laws.