What is a Casino?

A casino is a public place where a variety of games of chance can be played and gambling is the primary activity. While musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers help attract patrons, casinos would not exist without the billions of dollars in profits raked in by games like slot machines, blackjack, roulette and craps.

A large percentage of casinos also host poker tournaments and other live entertainment. Many casinos feature a restaurant and some have on-site hotels. Casinos are found all over the world but were first popularized in the United States. Many state laws were changed in the 1980s and 1990s to permit gambling, and casinos soon began popping up on American Indian reservations as well as in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

While something about the nature of gambling encourages people to cheat and steal, the majority of casino visitors are honest. Nevertheless, casinos spend a lot of time and money on security. Casinos often have hidden cameras, special catwalks over the tables that allow security personnel to look directly down on activities and a staff of professional security agents. They also use a variety of surveillance systems, including closed-circuit television and fiber optic cables, to monitor the games and patrons. Some casinos even have a dedicated department for detecting fraud, and they work closely with law enforcement. Some have even been known to arrest players for using drugs or weapons on their premises. This article looks at the history of casinos, what they offer and how they stay safe.