What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment that offers various games of chance and is regulated by state laws. Many casinos offer additional amenities to attract patrons, such as restaurants and free drinks. Some also have stage shows and dramatic scenery. Casinos can be found worldwide. While the majority of casinos are located in the United States, a growing number are opening in Asia and Europe. In addition, American Indian reservations are exempt from state anti-gambling laws and have casinos.

Casinos require a high degree of security. In addition to cameras and other technological measures, employees patrol the floor and watch for cheating or theft. Dealers at table games are especially trained to spot blatant cheating techniques such as palming or marking cards. Higher-up personnel monitor surveillance screens that display each table, window and doorway. These supervisors can focus on particular suspicious patrons and note unusual betting patterns.

Although the precise origin of gambling is unknown, it is believed that people have engaged in activities based on chance for millennia. The earliest known games were probably astragali (cut knuckle bones), and later primitive dice. Gambling in one form or another is recorded in nearly all cultures throughout history. It was popular in Ancient Mesopotamia, Roman Britain and Napoleon’s France. The modern casino originated in Europe and began to appear on American Indian reservations as early as the 1980s, although they are now found worldwide. Casinos are often controversial because they may divert local spending away from other forms of entertainment and contribute to problems such as substance abuse, gambling addiction and bankruptcy. Some economists argue that the net economic benefit of a casino is negative, because of the high cost of treatment for compulsive gamblers and lost productivity due to their absence from work.