What Makes a Casino a Casino?


Casinos are places where people can gamble in a variety of ways under one roof. They have restaurants, bars, spas and even theaters. And they are filled with a wide range of people. Some casinos ooze history and charm, while others are glass-and-steel temples of overindulgence. But casinos would not exist without games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, poker, roulette and other games of chance provide the billions in profits raked in by casinos every year.

Gambling has a long and complicated history. But the modern casino as we know it began to evolve in the 16th century during a gambling craze that swept Europe. Italian aristocrats gathered in private parties known as ridotti to play a variety of gambling games. [Source: Schwartz].

Modern casinos look a lot like indoor amusement parks for adults. Lighted fountains, shops and hotels add to the allure. Musical shows and lavish theme displays help draw in the crowds. But a casino’s real draw is the games of chance.

Table games are games played against a live dealer operated by croupiers. They include classics such as blackjack, craps and roulette. And they also include less well-known games such as baccarat and sic bo. [Source: Schwartz].

To keep patrons playing, casinos offer a wide variety of perks. They give big bettors “comps” that can include free food, drinks and hotel rooms. They also use chips instead of cash to make players feel less concerned about losing actual money. They may even put ATM machines in strategic locations, although some states limit how many and where they can be located.