History of Casinos

History of Casinos

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A casino is, in the modern sense of the word, a facility that houses and accommodates certain types of gambling activities. Casinos are most commonly built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships and other tourist attractions. Some casinos are known for hosting live entertainment events, such as stand-up comedy, concerts, and sporting events.

History of the term casino

The term "Casino" originally meant a small villa, summerhouse or pavilion built for pleasure, usually on the grounds of a larger Italian villa or palazzo. 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.

One of the first known casinos was established in Venice around 1638. 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. 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 1800s, and is presently used as a restaurant.

History of casinos

The precise origin of gambling is unknown. The Chinese recorded the first official account of the practice in 2300 B.C., but it is generally believed that activity of gambling, in some way 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 the games of chance.

In American history, early casinos were originally 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, and Las Vegas, presently known as "Sin City", spawned America's first official casinos. Soon after, in the state of New Jersey, Atlantic City joined the Casino industry in 1978 to become America's second largest gambling city.

Gambling in casinos

In most jurisdictions worldwide, gambling is limited to persons over the age of license (18 or 21 years of age in most of the United States and 16 to 21 in most other countries where casinos are permitted).

Customers gamble by playing slot machines or other games of chance (e.g., craps, roulette, baccarat) and some skill (e.g., blackjack, poker) (for more see casino games). Games usually 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 often give out free items, known as comps to people who are gambling. Often, in most casinos, the more money a player uses the more benefits or comps the player get.

Payout is the percentage won by players.

Playing with house money refers to the situation where a winning player is placing bets with money that has been won from the casino.


Casinos focus greatly on security, considering that this is a 30 billion dollar industry. Large amounts of currency move through a casino, tempting people to cheat the system. Security today consists of cameras located throughout the property operated by highly trained individuals who attempt to locate cheating and stealing by both players and employees.

Modern casino security is usually divided between a physical security force, which patrols the casino floor and responds to calls for assistance and reports of criminal and/or suspicious activities, and a specialized surveillance department, that operates the casino's closed circuit television (known in the industry as eye in the sky) system in an effort to detect any misconduct by both guests and employees alike. Both of these specialized casino security departments work very closely with each other to ensure the safety of both guests and the casino's assets.

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


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