What Is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment where customers can gamble on games of chance, including slot machines, blackjack, craps, roulette, and poker. Some casinos also offer food and beverage services. A casino is a popular tourist attraction and can be found in many cities around the world.

Casinos are places where large amounts of money are handled, and security measures are important. They may employ surveillance cameras, patrols, and doorman guards to prevent cheating or theft. Employees may also be trained to recognize suspicious behavior, such as a customer depositing cash into more than one slot machine or removing money from a game after winning. In addition to these internal controls, many casinos use external security forces such as the police to enforce their rules.

Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice appearing in archaeological sites. But the modern casino as a place to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof didn’t develop until the 16th century, when gambling crazes swept Europe and Italian aristocrats held private parties in venues called ridotti.

Because casinos were illegal for most of their existence, they attracted organized crime money. Mobster owners became involved in their operation, taking sole or partial ownership of many casinos and attempting to control the games played inside. But federal crackdowns and the potential for losing a gaming license at the slightest hint of mob involvement forced the mobsters out of the business, and real estate investors and hotel chains moved in to take their places.