What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games of chance. It is also a place where people come to socialize and enjoy entertainment.

The term casino was first used in the 19th century to describe a public hall for music and dancing. In the second half of the century, it became synonymous with a collection of gaming or gambling rooms. The classic example is the casino at Monte-Carlo, which opened in 1863 and remains a major source of income for the Principality of Monaco.

Gambling is one of the world’s most popular pastimes. According to the American Gaming Association, about 51 million people—a quarter of all adults over age 21—visited a casino in 2002. That is a significant increase from the prior year, and it is expected to continue to grow.

Unlike other amusement parks, casinos make the majority of their revenue from gambling, not from ticketed events or retail sales. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and other table games provide the billions of dollars in profits casinos rake in every year. But casinos would not exist without their players.

While legitimate businessmen were hesitant to invest in casinos, organized crime figures had plenty of cash from their illegal rackets. The mobsters funded the development of Reno and Las Vegas, taking full or partial ownership of casinos and exerting control over their operations. Casinos are regulated by government agencies in many countries and territories. They are also a frequent target of security concerns, and they employ a wide range of physical and technological measures to protect their patrons.

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