The Las Vegas Strip is renowned for its high concentration of casino resort hotels.

In modern English, a casino is a facility which houses and accommodates certain types of gambling activities. Casinos are most commonly built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships or other tourist attractions. There is much debate over whether or not the social and economic consequences of casino gambling outweigh the initial revenue that may be generated.[1] In the United States, many states are grappling with high unemployment and budget deficits and are now turning to legalizing casinos, often in places that are not tourist destinations. Some casinos are also known for hosting live entertainment events, such as stand-up comedy, concerts, and sporting events. Use of the word in the past, and modern use in some countries, does not necessarily involve gambling.


Etymology and usage

The Grande Casino Internacional Monte Estoril, a Portuguese casino that opened in the 1920s.

The term "Casino" is of Italian origin, the root word being "Casa" (house) and originally meant a small country villa, summerhouse or pavilion. The word changed to refer to a building built for pleasure, usually on the grounds of a larger Italian villa or palazzo. Such buildings were used to host civic town functions – including dancing, music listening and gambling.

There are examples of such casinos at Villa Giulia and Villa Farnese. In modern day Italian, this term designates a bordello (also called "casa chiusa", literally "closed house"), while the gambling house is spelled casinò with an accent.[2]

During the 19th century, the term "casino" came to include other public buildings where pleasurable activities, including gambling, and sports took place. An example of this type of building is the Newport Casino in Newport, Rhode Island.

Not all casinos were used for gaming. The Copenhagen Casino was a theatre, known for the use made of its hall for mass public meetings during the 1848 Revolution which made Denmark a constitutional monarchy. Until 1937 it was a well-known Danish theatre.[3] The Hanko Casino located in Hanko, Finland - one of that town's most conspicuous landmarks - was never used for gambling. Rather, it was a banquet hall for the Russian nobility which frequented this spa resort in the late 19th century, and is presently used as a restaurant. The Catalina Casino,[4] a famous landmark overlooking Avalon Harbor on Santa Catalina Island, California, has never been used for traditional games of chance, which were already outlawed in California by the time it was built.

In military usage in Spanish and German, a casino or kasino is an officers' mess; a confusing linguistic false friend for translators.

History of gambling houses

The precise origin of gambling is unknown. The Chinese recorded the first official account of the practice in 2300 BC, but it is generally believed that gambling in some form or another has been seen in almost every society in history. From the Ancient Greeks and Romans to Napoleon's France and Elizabethan England, much of history is filled with stories of entertainment based on games of chance.[5]

The first known European gambling house, not called a casino although meeting the modern definition, was the Ridotto, established in Venice, Italy in 1638 to provide controlled gambling during the carnival season. It was closed in the 1770 as the city government perceived it to impoverish the local gentry.

In American history, early gambling establishments were known as saloons. The creation and importance of saloons was greatly influenced by four major cities; New Orleans, St. Louis, Chicago and San Francisco. It was in the saloons that travelers could find people to talk to, drink with, and often gamble with. During the early 20th century in America, gambling became outlawed and banned by state legislation and social reformers of the time. However, in 1931, gambling was legalized throughout the state of Nevada, along with Las Vegas and Reno. America's first legalized casinos were set up in those places. In 1978 New Jersey allowed gambling in Atlantic City, now America's second largest gambling city.

Gambling in casinos

Slot machines are commonplace in casinos.

In most jurisdictions worldwide, gambling is limited to persons over the age of license (16 to 21 years of age in most countries where casinos are permitted).[6]

Customers gamble by playing games of chance, in some cases with an element of skill, such as craps, roulette, baccarat, blackjack, and video poker. Most games played have mathematically-determined odds that ensure the house has at all times an advantage over the players. This can be expressed more precisely by the notion of expected value, which is uniformly negative (from the player's perspective). This advantage is called the house edge. In games such as poker where players play against each other, the house takes a commission called the rake. Casinos sometimes give out complimentary items to gamblers.

Payout is the percentage won by players.

Casinos in the USA say that a player staking money won from the casino is playing with house money.

Video Lottery Machines (slot machines), have become one of the most popular form of gambling in casinos. Recently, investigative reports have been calling into question whether the modern day slot machine is addictive.[7]


The following lists major casino markets in the world with casino revenue of over US$1,000 million as published in PricewaterhouseCoopers's report on the outlook for the global casino market[8]:

By region

Rank Location Casinos Revenue (2009)
Revenue (2010 Projected)
Revenue (2011 Projected)
1 United States 57,240 56,500 58,030
2 Asia Pacific 21,845 32,305 41,259
3 Europe, Middle East, Africa 17,259 16,186 16,452
4 Canada 22 3,712 3,835 4,045
5 Latin America 425 528 594
Total 100,481 109,354 120,380

By markets

Rank Location Casinos Revenue (2009)
Revenue (2010 Projected)
Revenue (2011 Projected)
1 Macao 33 14,955 22,445 28,379
2 Las Vegas, United States 10,247 9,950 10,300
3 Singapore 2 NA 2,750 5,479
4 France 3,965 3,909 3,957
5 Atlantic City, United States 11 3,943 3,550 3,330
6 Australia 11 2,697 2,769 2,847
7 South Korea 17[9] 2,401 2,430 2,512
8 Germany 2,073 2,055 2,081
9 South Africa 4 1,601 1,649 1,740
10 United Kingdom 1,212 1,193 1,209
11 Poland 1,089 1,091 1,126

Significant sites

While there are casinos in many places, a few places have become well-known specifically for gambling. Perhaps the place almost defined by its casino is Monte Carlo, but other places are known as gambling centers.

Monte Carlo, Monaco

Monte Carlo has a famous casino popular with well-off visitors, which is a tourist attraction in its own right. A song and a film named The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo need no explanation—they clearly refer to the casino.

The casino has made Monte Carlo so well known for games of chance that mathematical methods for solving various problems using many quasi-random numbers—numbers with the statistical distribution of numbers generated by chance—are formally known as Monte Carlo methods. Monte Carlo was part of the plot in a few James Bond novels and films.


The former Portuguese colony of Macau, a special administrative region of China since 1999, is a popular destination for visitors who wish to gamble. This started in Portuguese times, when Macau was popular with visitors from nearby British Hong Kong where gambling was more closely regulated.

Casinos in the United States

The Casino Royale Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas

There are almost 900 casinos now in the United States, with that number steadily growing as more states seek to legalize casinos. 38 states now have some form of casino gambling. Relatively small places such as Las Vegas are best known for gambling; larger cities such as Chicago are not defined by their casinos in spite of the large turnover.

Las Vegas has the largest concentration of casinos in the United States. Based on revenue, Atlantic City, New Jersey ranks second, and the Chicago region third.

Top American casino markets by revenue (2009 annual revenues[10]):

The Nevada Gaming Control Board divides Clark County, which is coextensive with the Las Vegas metropolitan area, into seven regions for reporting purposes.

Indian gaming has been responsible for a rise in the number of casinos outside of Las Vegas and Atlantic City.


Given the large amounts of currency handled within a casino, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat and steal, in collusion or independently; most casinos have security measures to prevent this. Security cameras located throughout the casino are the most basic measure.

Modern casino security is usually divided between a physical security force and a specialized surveillance department. The physical security force usually patrols the casino and responds to calls for assistance and reports of suspicious or definite criminal activity. A specialized surveillance department operates the casino's closed circuit television system, known in the industry as the eye in the sky. Both of these specialized casino security departments work very closely with each other to ensure the safety of both guests as well as the casino's assets, and have been quite successful in preventing crime.[11] Some casinos also have catwalks in the ceiling above the casino floor, which allow surveillance personnel to look directly down, through one way glass, on the activities at the tables and slot machines.

When it opened in 1989, The Mirage was the first casino to use cameras full-time on all table games.[12]

In addition to cameras and other technological measures, casinos also enforce security through rules of conduct and behavior; for example, players at card games are usually required to keep their hands visible at all times.

Business Practices

Over the past few decades, casinos have developed many different marketing techniques for attracting and maintaining loyal patrons. Many casinos use a loyalty rewards program used to track players' spending habits and target their patrons more effectively, by sending mailings with free slot play and other promotions.[13]


One area of controversy surrounding casinos is their relationship to crime rates. Economics studies that do show a positive relationship between casinos and crime usually fail to consider the visiting population at risk when they calculate the crime rate in casino areas. Such studies thus count the crimes committed by visitors, but do not count visitors in the population measure, and this overstates the crime rates in casino areas. Part of the reason this methodology is used, despite it leading to an overstatement of crime rates is that reliable data on tourist count are often not available.[14] In a 2004 report by the US Department of Justice, researchers interviewed people who had been arrested in Las Vegas and Des Moines and found that the percentage of problem or pathological gamblers among the arrestees was three to five times higher than in the general population.[15] According to some police reports, incidences of reported crime often double and triple in communities within three years of a casino opening.[16]

See also



  1. ^ "Should Internet Gambling Be Legalized?" (July 29, 2010). [New York Times], Retrieved 7/20/2011.
  2. ^ "Casino". 
  3. ^ "Special catalogues in the Drama Collection". The Royal Library. Retrieved 2007-07-09. 
  4. ^ "Avalon Casino Ballroom". Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  5. ^ "History of Casinos & Casino Jobs". Job Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  6. ^ Rose, Nelson (2000-06-15). "Minimum Legal Age to Place a Bet". Gaming Guru. Casino City Times. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  7. ^ "Slot Machines: The Big Gamble", (Jan. 10, 2011). CBS 60 Minutes, Retrieved 7/20/2011.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ American Gaming Association: State of the States 2010 Report (page 8), accessed 11 July 2010
  11. ^ "Casino Management and Operations". Gambling Info. Retrieved 23 June 2011. 
  12. ^ Knightly, Arnold M. (February 2007). "Blink and you'll miss him". Casino City Times: 1. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  13. ^ "Tribes to pay Conn. $25m in slot accord", (August 27, 2009). The Boston Globe, Retrieved 7/20/2011.
  14. ^ Walker, Douglas M. "Do Casinos Really Cause Crime?" (Jan 2008). Econ Journal Watch [1]
  15. ^ McCorkle, Richard C., "Gambling and Crime Among Arrestees: Exploring the Link" (July 2004). U.S. Department of Justice'. Retrieved 7/20/2011.
  16. ^ "Gambling addiction leads many down criminal road", Jeremy Boren, (June 19, 2011). The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Retrieved 7/20/2011.

External links

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  • casino — [ kazino ] n. m. • 1740; mot it. « maison de jeux », de casa « maison » ♦ Établissement public comportant des salles de réunion, de spectacle, de danse et où les jeux d argent sont autorisés. Casino d une station thermale, d une ville d eau. Le… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Casino — (italienisch „kleines Haus“ oder „Landhaus“) oder Kasino steht für: Spielbank, eine öffentlich zugängliche Einrichtung für staatlich konzessioniertes Glücksspiel Offizierkasino, eine Betreuungseinrichtung mit Speiseraum beim Militär Kantine,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Casino — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Casino puede referirse a: Casino de juego Casino cultural Centro social Casino (casa de recreo) Casino (película) Grupo Casino Casino Digital Casino, álbum de la banda de rock guatemalteco Viento en Contra Obtenido… …   Wikipedia Español

  • casino — (Del it. casino, casa de campo). 1. m. club (ǁ sociedad de recreo). 2. Asociación análoga, formada por los adeptos de un partido político o por hombres de una misma clase o condición. Casino liberal. [m6]Casino agrícola. [m6]Casino militar. 3.… …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • Casino — Casino, In der neapolitanischen Provinz Terra di Lavoro erhebt sich, umgeben von einer reizenden Landschaft, der Monte Casino. Auf dem Gipfel desselben erbaute in frommer Begeisterung der heilige Benedict um das Jahr 530 ein Kloster, welches bald …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • Casino [2] — Casino, Monte Casino, Berg in Neapel, Prov. Terra di Lavoro, mit der auf ihm befindlichen, von dem hl. Benedict 529 gestifteten Benedictinerabtei Monte Casino, mit prächtigen Gebäuden, Archiv und Bibliothek. Die Mönche besitzen eine eigene… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • casinò — /kasi no/ s.m. [dal fr. casino, che a sua volta è dall it. casino ]. [locale dove si gioca d azzardo] ▶◀ casa da gioco. ‖ bisca …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • casino — sustantivo masculino 1. Establecimiento público con juegos de azar y diversiones: Los sábados va al casino a jugar a la ruleta. 2. Asociación de carácter recreativo o cultural donde se paga una cuota: El casino de Salamanca organiza un baile sólo …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • Casino — Ca*si no, n.; pl. E. {Casinos}, It. {Casini}. [It. casino, dim. of casa house, fr. L. casa cottage. Cf. {Cassing}.] 1. A small country house. [1913 Webster] 2. A building or room used for meetings, or public amusements, for dancing, etc.,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Casino [1] — Casino, Kloster, s. Monte Casino …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • casino — UK US /kəˈsiːnəʊ/ noun [C] (plural casinos) ► a building where games are played for money: »The country s new casino industry is increasing the number of gambling addicts …   Financial and business terms

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