What Is a Casino?


A casino is a facility where people can play various types of gambling games. Some casinos specialize in one type of game while others offer a variety. They may also provide dining, entertainment and other amenities. Most casinos have security measures in place to prevent cheating or theft by patrons. They may have catwalks that allow surveillance personnel to look directly down, through one-way glass, on activities at tables and slot machines. Some have high-tech surveillance systems that use cameras mounted in the ceiling to cover the entire casino floor and can be adjusted to focus on specific patrons or suspicious activity.

While gambling has probably occurred as long as humans have been around, the modern casino concept did not emerge until the 16th century. This coincided with a period of great social unrest in Europe, and wealthy Italian nobles created private clubs known as ridotti to indulge their vices in peace. These became the ancestors of today’s casinos, which offer patrons a variety of ways to gamble under one roof.

While casinos are a major source of revenue for some states, critics contend that the money they bring in diverts spending from other local businesses and causes problems for compulsive gamblers. Moreover, they may lower property values in nearby neighborhoods. Several states have addressed these concerns by establishing responsible gambling programs that encourage gamblers to seek help or self-exclude themselves from casinos for a certain period of time.