What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment with tables for card and dice games, slot machines, keno, roulette, craps, baccarat and other gambling activities. Some casinos also offer live entertainment, such as stand-up comedy and musical acts. A casino can be found in many cities and countries around the world.

While gambling almost certainly predates recorded history (as evidenced by primitive protodice and carved knuckle bones), the modern casino as a place for gamblers to find a wide variety of games under one roof didn’t emerge until a gambling craze swept Europe in the 16th century. Originally, these small clubhouses for Italian aristocrats called ridotti popped up in response to a crackdown on public gambling houses that centralized gambling activity [Source: Schwartz].

These days, casinos are much more than high-end entertainment centers. They’re an industry that relies on games of chance for billions in profits. The dark side of casino gambling includes problem gambling, which can lead to addiction, financial ruin and broken family relationships. That’s why most states include responsible gambling measures as part of the licensing conditions for casino operators.

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