Building or room used for gambling. The term originally referred to a public hall for music and dancing, but by the late 19th century it had come to denote a gaming house, particularly one in which card and dice games were played. Today casinos are places where gamblers can risk their money against a common gambler (called the banker or house), and they have an almost uniform character throughout the world. One of the oldest and best-known casinos is that at Monte Carlo (Monaco), founded in 1861. Others include those at Cannes and Nice (France), Corfu (Greece), Baden-Baden (Germany), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), and Las Vegas and Reno (Nevada, U.S.). Casinos in Havana (Cuba) were confiscated by the Castro government after the 1959 revolution, spelling the end of a flourishing gambling scene that rivaled Las Vegas. Nevada has long had casino gambling, but other U.S. states prohibited it; that ban was ended when a casino opened in Atlantic City, N.J., in 1978. From the 1980s casinos began appearing on American Indian reservations, which are not subject to state antigambling statutes, and casino gambling expanded vastly in the U.S. as gambling became legal in more states, particularly as a riverboat operation. In the late 1990s Internet gambling sites permitted players to play casino games such as roulette and blackjack. These virtual casinos usually offered the option of playing against other players or only against the house.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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