What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a wide variety of games of chance to its patrons. In addition to providing an array of gaming options, casinos offer luxury accommodations, top-notch restaurants and spectacular entertainment.

The history of the casino as a gathering place for people to gamble and socialize in one building dates back to the 16th century. Although gambling itself probably predates recorded history, primitive protodice and carved knuckle bones have been found at ancient archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. The first modern casinos were built in Nevada as a way to attract visitors from across the country, and they helped turn Las Vegas into one of the world’s most famous cities.

As the popularity of casinos grew, mob figures became involved in the business. They provided the money to expand and renovate casinos, and often took sole or partial ownership of them. Legitimate businessmen were reluctant to deal with casinos, which had a taint of “vice.” Mobbers were not, and their money kept the casinos rolling.

Today’s casinos have a wide variety of games, and many have added exotic attractions to draw the crowds. Some have even been transformed into resorts, offering a full range of dining, entertainment and lodging in one location. While a visit to the casino is not cheap, it can be well worth the price. However, the high cost of treating compulsive gamblers and the loss of productivity that gambling addicts cause can offset any financial gains a casino might have made.