What Is a Casino?


A casino is a facility for certain types of gambling. While lavish hotel rooms, restaurants, musical shows and lighted fountains help attract customers, casinos would not exist without games of chance. Slot machines, black jack, roulette, craps, keno and other games of chance provide the billions of dollars in profits that casinos take in each year.

The word casino is believed to come from the Italian word for “small room.” Casinos began appearing throughout the world in the early 20th century, with most of them opening on American Indian reservations that were exempt from state antigambling laws. During the 1980s and ’90s many American states changed their gaming laws to permit casinos, especially in Las Vegas.

Some casinos have a reputation for being safe and secure, while others have a dark side. While casino security measures are important, the reality is that casino employees and patrons may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion with each other or independently. Because of this, many casinos have strict rules and regulations for players and staff to follow.

Casino security consists of both physical security forces and a specialized surveillance department. The physical security force patrols the casino floor and responds to calls for assistance or suspicious activity. The surveillance department operates the casino’s closed circuit television system, commonly called the eye in the sky. This enables security personnel to watch every table, window and doorway. It also makes it easier for them to spot patterns in behavior that could indicate a cheating attempt.