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What is a Casino?

What is a Casino?

A casino is a facility for certain types of gambling. Modern casinos resemble indoor amusement parks for adults, with most of the entertainment and profits coming from gambling games. Slot machines, black jack, roulette, craps and keno provide the billions of dollars in profit raked in by casinos each year.

Although casino gambling has been around for thousands of years (primitive dice from ancient Mesopotamia and carved knuckle bones have been found in archaeological sites), it became an official industry only after the United States legalized it in Nevada in 1931. By the 1990s, real estate investors and hotel chains realized that they could make huge money from casinos. This prompted the development of casinos in other states, including Atlantic City, and on cruise ships and at racetracks as racinos.

Successful casinos take in billions of dollars each year for their owners, investors, and Native American tribes. In addition, state and local governments reap taxes, fees and other payments. But something about casinos seems to encourage cheating, stealing and other forms of underhanded behavior. Casinos spend a lot of time, effort and money on security.

The word casino derives from a Latin phrase meaning “little farm” or “house of pleasure.” Gambling has existed in some form since the dawn of history, with primitive protodice and carved knuckle bones among the earliest archaeological finds. But the casino as a place to find a variety of ways to gamble did not develop until the 16th century, when the popularity of gambling in Europe led to the development of private social clubs for the rich called ridotti.