What Is a Casino?

A casino, also known as a gaming house or a gambling establishment, is a facility for certain types of gambling. It is often built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and cruise ships. Some casinos are also known for hosting live entertainment events such as stand-up comedy, concerts, and sporting events.

The precise origin of gambling is not fully known, but it is believed that in most societies people have entertained themselves through games of chance. The most popular casino games are dice, card games, and table games such as roulette, baccarat, and blackjack. In addition to these games, many casinos offer video poker machines and other electronic games.

Because of the large amounts of money handled within a casino, there is always the potential for patrons and staff to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. In order to control these risks, most casinos have security measures in place. These include highly trained employees, sophisticated surveillance systems, and cameras that monitor every table, window, and doorway.

In the past, many casinos were run by mobster families, who used them to launder their criminal profits. But as the business became legalized and regulated, legitimate businesses bought out the mob’s stake in the casinos and ran them without the Mafia’s taint. Today, some of the world’s largest casinos are owned by hotel and casino chains like Caesars and Hilton, which have deep pockets that allow them to invest in high-tech surveillance and other security measures.