A casino is a public place where people can gamble and play games of chance. It can include slot machines, table games like blackjack and roulette, and even card games such as poker and baccarat. Some casinos are also known for their stage shows and dramatic scenery, but gambling is the core of the business. A casino is a great place to try your luck and walk away with a wad of cash (or not).
A modern casino is more like an indoor amusement park for adults than a traditional gambling house. There are restaurants, shopping areas and hotels attached to or incorporated into the casino, but the main draw is always the gambling. Musical shows, lighted fountains and dramatic scenery help lure the crowds, but it’s the games of chance that bring in billions of dollars in profits for the owners.
The word casino has its origins in Italian and means “little farm.” By the 19th century, it had come to mean a small building or room used for gaming. The first modern casinos grew out of Nevada, which was the only state at that time to allow legal gambling. As the industry grew, it became profitable to locate casinos in cities that could attract large numbers of tourists. New Jersey and Atlantic City soon jumped on the bandwagon, as did Iowa with its “riverboat” casinos and Native American reservations in various states that were not subject to federal antigambling laws.