What Is a Casino?

A casino is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. It may also have restaurant services and other amenities. In many countries, casinos are regulated and operate under strict rules. Some are attached to hotels and resorts, while others stand alone. Casinos are popular places for tourists to visit. They are also the site of many high-profile events such as sports tournaments and boxing matches. The Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas, for example, is famous for its dancing fountains and luxurious accommodations. The movie Ocean’s 11 brought more attention to the world of casinos.

Because large amounts of money are handled within a casino, security is a major concern. Employees keep a close eye on the patrons to spot cheating or theft. Dealers watch for blatant palming or marking cards, and table managers and pit bosses are on the lookout for betting patterns that signal collusion. Elaborate surveillance systems provide a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” view of the entire casino. Cameras can be focused on suspicious patrons by security workers in a separate room filled with banks of monitors. Computers are used to supervise games themselves; for instance, betting chips have microcircuitry that enables the casino to monitor exact amounts wagered minute by minute, and roulette wheels are electronically monitored for any statistical deviation from expected results.

Gambling has been a part of human culture for millennia. Evidence of dice gaming was found in China in 2300 BC, and card games appeared shortly thereafter. Today, there are over 3,000 casinos and gambling houses around the world. They range from the flashy Vegas megaresorts to the illegal pai gow parlors in New York’s Chinatown.