What Is a Casino?

A casino, or gambling house, is an establishment that allows players to gamble on a variety of games. These include table games such as blackjack, roulette, and poker, as well as slot machines. Many casinos also offer live entertainment and serve food and drink. Some casinos are located in resorts, while others stand alone or are combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, and cruise ships. The precise origin of casino gambling is unknown, but it is widely believed that some form of it existed in nearly every culture throughout history.

While gambling in some form may have predated the modern casino, it was not until the 16th century that a single facility to host a variety of different games emerged. During this time, the first casinos developed as private clubs for Italian aristocrats called ridotti (plural of “ri”) [Source: Schwartz]. The mobsters that ran the early mob-run casinos made so much money that real estate developers and hotel chains saw opportunity. With deep pockets, they bought out the mobsters and began running their own casinos.

In the US, legal age for gambling varies by state and gambling product, but most states require players to be 21 or older. Similarly, in Canada, the legal age for gambling varies by province and game, but is usually 18 or 19. Some casinos do not accept minors, so check the rules before visiting. This is especially important if you plan to gamble with children.