What Is a Casino?

A casino is a place where gamblers can play a variety of games of chance. It is not uncommon for casinos to add other luxuries, such as restaurants and free drinks, to attract patrons. But whatever the specific luxuries of any given casino, gambling is the primary activity and the central focus.

Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved knuckle bones discovered at archaeological sites. However, the modern casino emerged in the 16th century as part of a gambling craze in Europe. Italian aristocrats often hosted parties at their private clubs, called ridotti, where gambling was the chief entertainment.

The modern casino has a wide range of security measures to prevent cheating, stealing and other violations of the rules. Some of these involve sophisticated technology. For example, casino chips have built-in microcircuitry that allow the casino to monitor their use minute by minute and warn them of any anomaly. Roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly to discover any statistical deviation from their expected outcomes. In addition to technology, casino security is also based on the human element. Casino employees are trained to spot blatant cheating and other violations, and most games have specific rules that must be followed to avoid violating the rules.

Compulsive gambling is a particular concern for casino owners. Studies indicate that the costs of treating gambling addiction and lost productivity by addicted patrons far outweigh any revenue generated by the casino.