Anthropologically speaking about Casinos

To think that casinos and gambling would be something of modern society is to disbelieve the historical facts about many other civilizations like the Greeks, the Egyptians or the Chinese, whose artifacts suggest the existence of gambling activities. The “Games of Chance” are not a product of the world of today, instead they influenced its development and became institutionalized as casinos.

The word Casino comes from the Italian world “Casa”, meaning Home, and is usually used when talking about cottages, huts and social clubs where ludic activities and city functions take place, like dancing, theatre, music shows and gambling events. It was during the 19th century that this cultural meaning was created. The word “casa” has its roots in Latin, as we can see, the European presence of the language is also present in the Portuguese and Spanish languages, which have the same meaning for the word. The only difference is that in Italian the gambling club is spelled like “casinò” with an accent, distinct from the word casino which refers to a “Bordello” or brothel.

It was this cultural new meaning that inspired the development of the modern day industry of gambling and casino that have a big global market structuring it.     But the most important element of casinos is the social interactive environment that stimulates the bonding of human beings and the sharing of moments of fun, tension, uncertainty and pleasure from winnings and losses. On the other side of the coin it gives form to the formation of groups that compete with each other and organize accordingly. Like the local groups of a specific casino might unite to sabotage or make it rougher for the new gambler in the house. Either way, it is the interactions of people on the craps and roulette tables, slot machines and card games that give shape to casinos and favor the growth of the gambling market worldwide.

So if we think about why gambling is such a big business as it is an activity for human beings to socialize, we understand that it is the connection to others and the seek for material riches and status that play a big roll. It is not just a place to make easy money or harshly losing possessions but also a modern and dynamic place that involves people and strengthens their bonds with friends and loved ones or tears apart solid relationships and self-control.