Casino originally, a public hall for music and dancing; by the second half of the 19th century, the term meant essentially a collection of gaming or gambling rooms.
The classic example of a casino, and for long the world's best-known one, which was opened in 1861. The casino has long been a major source of income for the principality of Monaco.
The 20th-century casino, which may also be called a gambling, or gaming, house or club, is a place where gamblers can risk their money against a common gambler, called the banker, or the house. Casinos have almost a uniform character throughout the world. In Europe and South America, they are permitted at many or most holiday resorts and not elsewhere.
In the United Kingdom, licensed and supervised gambling clubs, mainly in London, have operated since 1960. Club membership is required and easily obtainable. The government in France, which boasts the majority of European casinos, also regulates casinos.
In the United States, legal casinos were long operated only in Las Vegas and other locations in Nevada, where various forms of commercialized gambling were permitted. The economy of Las Vegas is almost entirely dependent on the large, luxurious casinos that have operated there since the late 1940s. Casino gambling was introduced in Atlantic City, N.J., in 1978, and from the 1980s casinos also began appearing on various American Indian reservations, which are not subject to state antigambling statutes.
Other legal casinos are located on riverboats; in Deadwood, S.D.; and by special license in Puerto Rico. A general expansion of casino gambling was underway in the United States by the last decade of the 20th century. In South America, there are casinos in Argentina, Colombia, and Ecuador. The casino at Havana, Cuba, was closed after the revolution in 1959.
The casino typically accepts all bets made by its patrons within a limit established so that a patron cannot win more than the casino can afford to pay. Every game offered gives the casino a mathematical expectancy of winning, and it is unlikely that a casino might lose money on its games, even for one day. Because of this virtual assurance of gross profit, casinos regularly offer big bettors extravagant inducements in the form of free spectacular entertainment, transportation, and elegant living quarters. Even lesser bettors are offered reduced-fare transportation, hotel rooms, free drinks and cigarettes while gambling, and other inducements. Such promotional expenses may exceed profits and cause a net loss over the year.
Of the games played regularly at casinos, roulette is found throughout the world, being a principal gambling game in France, where the casinos reduce their advantage to less than 1 percent to entice big bettors. In the Americas, roulette appeals more to small bettors, and the casinos take a larger percentage. Crap shooting attracts the big bettors in American casinos, most of which demand an advantage no greater than 1.4 percent, some only 1 percent or less. Slot machines and (from the 1980s) video poker machines are the economic mainstay of American casinos, the income resulting from high volume, rapid play at sums ranging from five cents to one dollar, and the ability to adjust machines for any desired profit.
Casino gaming started slowly. Taverns and roadhouses would allow dice and casino card games. The relatively sparse population was a barrier to establishing casino houses. But as the population increased, by the early 1800s many a lavish casino was established.
During the early 1800s casino gambling in the lower Mississippi Valley became a legitimate enterprise. The Mississippi River and connected waterways were major avenues of trade for farmers and merchants and the river boats carried passengers who had lots of cash. The south tended to have a more open attitude towards gaming, reflecting the Spanish, French, and early Virginian traditions.
New Orleans became the capital for casino playing. Many a casino was started in the river towns and became popular haunts for both travelers and professional casino players. These gamblers preyed upon these cash-laden travelers.
Gambling is common term for various games. Different forms of gambling have their own very distinct history but eventually find their way into each other. Gambling always was and will be an important part of history and prevailing form of entertainment for rich and poor all alike.
Sometimes gambling played a major role in history. For instance, in 1020 A.D. King Olaf of Norway and King Olaf of Sweden met to decide on the ownership of an isolated district of Hising. As they could not resolve the dispute by other means they have chosen to roll two dice. At first rolls both Kings rolled double six, at the second roll however the Swedish king rolled two dice of six and the Norway king rolled six on one die while another one cracked and showed seven!
In 1700s lotteries were established to bail out newly established British colonies. Later on, Americans used state-wide lotteries to sponsor the founding of national educational infrastructure.