What Is a Casino?


A casino, also called a gambling house or gaming room, is an establishment for the gambling of money and other games of chance. Casinos are commonly built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops and other tourist attractions. The casino industry generates significant revenue and employment in many states, and its presence is a major economic driver in some cities, such as Las Vegas, Nevada.

The word casino is a portmanteau of the Latin word for “house” and the Italian word for game. The first casino was built in Italy, and the concept spread throughout Europe when it was legalized during the late 1700s. In the United States, casinos became popular after a series of changes in state law. In the 1980s, Iowa allowed legal gambling in a small number of casinos on riverboats, and the idea was quickly copied in other states.

Casinos have a variety of security measures in place to prevent cheating and theft by patrons and staff. This starts with a constant eye on the players and games by dealers and other employees, who are trained to spot blatant scams such as marking cards or switching dice. Observers also look for betting patterns that might signal collusion between players or other suspicious activity.

The casino industry is also concerned about its image, and seeks to attract a high-income demographic. In addition to offering a wide range of games, most modern casinos feature top-notch live entertainment and luxurious hotel rooms and amenities.