What Is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment for certain types of games. These establishments are often built near or combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops, and cruise ships. They offer a variety of gaming options, including table games, slot machines, and poker. Casinos also feature entertainment and live sporting events. Some casinos specialize in certain card games, while others are known for their large selection of video poker machines.

Because of the large amounts of money handled, casino patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. For this reason, security is a high priority in most casino facilities. The most basic security measure is a visible security presence, but technology has increasingly become a standard part of casino operation. For example, some casinos use special “chip tracking” systems to monitor bets minute-by-minute and alert them to any statistical deviation; roulette wheels are electronically monitored to discover any anomalies as they occur.

In the United States, legal casino gambling first appeared in Atlantic City in 1978 and then spread to other American cities and Indian reservations, which are exempt from state antigambling laws. From the 1980s onward, many American states amended their laws to permit casino gambling. Today, there are over 3,000 casinos worldwide. In addition to offering a wide range of gambling options, most casinos provide other amenities for their guests, such as spas, restaurants, bars, and live entertainment. Some even have theme parks.