What Is a Casino?

A casino is a facility for certain types of gambling. Casinos are usually built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and other attractions. Some casinos host live entertainment, such as concerts and sports events. Some casinos are also known for their large collections of slot machines.

A modern casino is like an indoor amusement park for adults, with the vast majority of its entertainment and profits coming from games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette and craps are among the many games that contribute to billions of dollars in annual profits for U.S. casinos.

The precise origins of casino games are unknown, but gambling in some form or another has probably existed since ancient times. Prehistoric protodice and carved six-sided stones have been found in some archaeological sites, but the modern concept of a casino as a place to find a variety of gambling opportunities did not emerge until the 16th century, when European aristocrats began holding private parties at places called ridotti [Source: Schwartz].

Modern casinos make extensive use of technology, particularly video cameras. These are used for general security, to monitor the amount of money wagered in a game minute by minute, and to alert personnel if any suspicious activity is detected. They are also used to supervise table games, enabling casinos to detect any statistical deviations from their expected outcomes. In addition, some casinos have adopted electronic systems for wagering chips that enable them to keep track of the exact amounts of money that are bet, and to warn players when they have made a mistake.