What is a Casino?

A Casino is a gambling establishment where people can play a variety of games of chance for money. It has a distinctive and glamorous character, often with stage shows and dramatic scenery. In addition to its many gambling tables and machines a typical casino offers free drinks, restaurants and hotels. Casinos are found throughout the world, and in the United States they are typically located in cities with a large number of tourists. In the 1990s several American states amended their antigambling laws to permit casinos, and many are on Native American reservations.

In a recent survey of people who claimed to gamble, the largest proportion (50%) named slot machines as their favorite game. Table games (such as blackjack and poker) ranked second, with 30% of the respondents preferring them. Craps and roulette drew smaller percentages, while bingo, keno and betting on sporting/racing events each attracted only 6% of the respondents.

Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice showing up in archeological finds. But the casino as a place to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof didn’t develop until the 16th century, during a gaming craze in Europe.

The mafia invested heavily in Reno and Las Vegas casino operations in the 1950s, but eventually grew frustrated with their lack of control over the casinos’ decisions. Real estate investors and hotel chains had more money than the mobsters, and they bought out the mob’s stakes in the businesses. This allowed them to run the casinos without the risk of federal prosecution and the possibility of losing their gaming licenses at the slightest hint of mob involvement.