A casino in the modern sense can be defined as an establishment dedicated to facilitating organised gambling activities, and forms part of an industry known collectively as the gaming industry. The word “casino” is of Italian origin, stemming from the Italian “casa”, which when translated refers to a house or home. Modern-day casinos offer players the opportunity to win real money by playing games of chance, in which mathematical odds determine both the chance of a player’s win and the house, or casino’s, edge. If a game requires players to play against each other instead of against a house dealer, for example in the case of Poker, the casino often charges players a house commission, commonly known as a rake. Games offered by casinos will most likely include Blackjack, Baccarat, Slots and Roulette, among many others.
The term “casino” has not always been used to refer specifically to an organised gambling establishment. Throughout the 19th century, the word was used in a general sense to encompass any public establishment that hosted community gatherings such as dancing, music concerts, gambling and sports-watching.
The exact origin of gambling itself, however, is a mystery. It is widely believed that every major society in history, including the Chinese and Ancient Greeks and Egyptians, has partaken in some form of gambling. Even gambling games that grew popular in European countries in the 18th and 19th centuries are thought to have their roots in earlier civilizations; Roulette, a favourite game of the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, may well have been adapted from a similar but earlier game of Egyptian conception.
The first established European mercantile gambling facility was the Ridotto, opened in Venice in 1638, the purpose of which was to facilitate and supervise organised gambling during busy carnival seasons. The Ridotto is also known to be one of the first establishments to have created house-banked gambling games. Another example of early casino-like institutions is saloons, used as gambling and socialising spots in America during the 19th century. The first American saloon to be opened was in 1822 at Brown’s Hole, Wyoming.
The Casinos of Today
Nowadays, much care is taken to ensure that the design of casinos, including aesthetic factors such as atmospherics, colour schemes, lighting, and also factors such as availability and range of games, available bet limits, jackpots and bonuses on offer and extra player facilities, ensures the ultimate gambling experience for all players. The term “casino” has also broadened to include both online and mobile gambling platforms; online casinos were first introduced in the 1990’s, and have steadily evolved to offer every benefit a player would have during a game at a live casino. Mobile casinos, too, have been developed to offer players an instant and portable casino experience with downloadable apps that bring all the glamour of a real casino right to their fingertips. Online and mobile players also have the benefit of lower bet limits and free games, as well as exclusive online and mobile promotions, all which can be accessed anywhere and at any time, truly allowing for a modern casino experience.