v1The history of the word casino reveals a transformation from a cottage to a gambling palace. The source of our word, Italian casino, is a diminutive of casa, “house.” Central to the transformation is the development of the senses of casino in Italian. The word was first applied to a country house and then came to be used for a social gathering place, a room or building where one could dance, listen to music, and gamble. This last pastime seems to have gained precedence over the others, at least as far as the development of the word is concerned, and casino took on the meaning “gambling establishment.” These senses of the Italian word have all been borrowed into English, the sense “social gathering place” being recorded first in the 18th century, the sense “gambling establishment” first in 1851.