What is a Casino?


A casino is a place where people can play games of chance for money. Modern casinos offer much more than just gambling; entertainment, shopping, restaurants and hotel rooms are also a big part of the business. Despite all these attractions, however, casinos would not exist without games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and other games of chance provide the billions in profits that make casinos profitable enterprises.

The idea of a casino as a place to find a variety of different ways to gamble under one roof was probably first developed during the 16th century, when gambling mania swept Europe. Rich Italian aristocrats gathered in private places called ridotti to enjoy their favorite pastime — though technically, gambling was illegal.

Casinos earn a large percentage of their profits from slot machines, which are the most popular games with customers. The simplicity of slot machines makes them a very appealing form of gambling; the customer puts in some money, pulls a handle or pushes a button and watches as varying bands of colored shapes roll on reels (either actual physical ones or a video representation of them). If the right pattern appears, the machine pays out a predetermined amount of cash.

Because of the huge amounts of currency handled within a casino, patrons and staff are sometimes tempted to cheat and steal, either in collusion or independently. For this reason, many casinos employ strict security measures. For example, elaborate surveillance systems allow casino managers to monitor every table, window and doorway with a high-tech eye in the sky, or to focus on specific suspicious patrons from a room filled with banks of security monitors.