What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment, with table games like blackjack and roulette and slot machines, as well as poker rooms and other activities. The best casinos focus on providing a high level of quality and sophistication, as well as excellent service. The Bellagio in Las Vegas is one such example. The dancing fountains and other luxurious amenities make it a top destination for high-stakes gamblers and casual visitors alike.

A modern casino has a specialized security department that patrols the premises and responds to calls for assistance and reports of suspicious or definite criminal activity. Other specialized personnel monitor the games themselves, looking for card counting and other techniques that may give away a player’s strength. Table managers and pit bosses watch over the games with a more broader view, keeping an eye out for betting patterns that could signal cheating.

Although gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in archaeological digs, the casino as a central location for multiple types of gambling did not develop until the 16th century. At that time, Italian aristocrats would hold private parties at venues called ridotti where they could play a variety of games without worrying about legal authorities. The name derived from the Latin tabula, which was used to refer to board game sets. The Gloucester tabula set, discovered in 1983, has obelisk shaped points, and might represent an early transitional phase between square and triangular points.