What Is a Casino?


A casino is an establishment that provides gambling-related entertainment to its clients. It is legal in most countries and is a popular place for tourists to spend their free time.

Gambling Predates Recorded History

A gambling craze in the 16th century swept Europe, and Italian aristocrats often held private parties in places called ridotti [Source: Schwartz]. These clubs were not legally prohibited, but many of them were raided by the Inquisition because they were known to be popular with aristocrats.

Gambling is an important source of revenue for casinos, but it also comes with a number of negatives. Problem gamblers can cost the casino money and reduce productivity, and gambling addicts can lead to serious social problems.

How a Casino Stays Safe

A security system in a casino watches every table, window and doorway with cameras. The security staff can adjust the camera to focus on suspicious patrons and review video feeds to track their activities.

How a Casino Makes Money

The most profitable games in a casino are slot machines and video poker. These games offer a large profit for casinos because of the high volume and rapid play at small sums, as well as the ability to set payouts.

How a Casino Stays Out of the Eye of the Mob

Real estate investors, hotel chains and other large businesses realized they could make money by owning casinos. As a result, most American casinos are now run by legitimate business people who keep the mob away from their cash cows. Federal crackdowns and the possibility of losing a gaming license at even the smallest hint of Mafia involvement mean the mob is rarely found in casinos anymore.