What Is a Casino?

The casino, often called simply a gambling house or card room, is an establishment where people can play a variety of games. The modern casino, first created in the 1890s in Europe, evolved into a full-fledged entertainment center with luxurious decoration and many games. Many casinos also feature hotels, restaurants, non-gambling games, and other amenities.

Because large amounts of money are involved, casinos employ a great deal of security to prevent cheating and theft by patrons and staff. This includes surveillance cameras throughout the facility, which are monitored by a specialized security department. Casinos also use technology to supervise their games: betting chips are equipped with microcircuitry that allows them to be tracked minute-by-minute; and roulette wheels are electronically inspected for any statistical deviation from normal.

Casinos are usually owned and operated by large corporations, but some are operated by independent owners. In the United States, casinos are generally regulated by state and local governments. Some are located in cities such as Las Vegas, Reno and Atlantic City; others open on American Indian reservations outside of metropolitan areas. Casinos have also become popular in other countries, particularly in Latin America, where they are often built as part of luxury resorts.

Something about the nature of gambling attracts criminals, and even law-abiding patrons may be tempted to cheat or steal. This is why casinos spend so much on security. To offset this risk, casinos often offer perks designed to encourage gamblers to spend more: free drinks and food while they are gambling; reduced-fare transportation and hotel rooms; discounted show tickets; and other inducements.