The term “Casino” is of Italian origin, the root word being “Casa” (house) and originally meant a small country villa, summerhouse or pavilion. The word changed to refer to a building built for pleasure, usually on the grounds of a larger Italianvilla or palazzo. Such buildings were used to host civic town functions – including dancing, music listening, and gambling.
There are examples of such casinos at Villa Giulia and Villa Farnese. In modern day Italian, this term designates a bordello (also called “casa chiusa”, literally “closed house”), while the gambling house is spelled casinò with an accent
During the 19th century, the term “casino” came to include other public buildings where pleasurable activities, including gambling, and sports took place. An example of this type of building is the Newport Casino in Newport, Rhode Island.
Not all casinos were used for gaming. The Copenhagen Casino was a theatre, known for the use made of its hall for mass public meetings during the 1848 Revolution which made Denmark a constitutional monarchy. Until 1937 it was a well-known Danish theatre. The Hanko Casino located in Hanko, Finland – one of that town’s most conspicuous landmarks – was never used for gambling. Rather, it was a banquet hall for the Russian nobility which frequented this spa resort in the late 19th century, and is presently used as a restaurant. The Catalina Casino,a famous landmark overlooking Avalon Harbor on Santa Catalina Island, California, has never been used for traditional games of chance, which were already outlawed in California by the time it was built.
In military usage in Spanish and German, a casino or kasino is an officers’ mess; curiously, in Italian – the source-language of the word – a “casino” is either a brothel, a mess, or a noisy environment, while a gaming house is called a “casinò”. A confusing linguistic false friend for translators.
Article courtesy of Wikipedia