A casino, also known as a gambling house or a gaming room, is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Casinos are often built near or combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops, cruise ships and other tourist attractions. Some casinos are famous for their high-stakes games, while others specialize in luxury and exotic atmospheres.

A number of cities around the world have casinos, but the most notable are in Las Vegas, Nevada and Macau, China. Most of these casinos are large, with multiple floors and thousands of machines. They also have a variety of table games, including poker and blackjack. Some even host live entertainment events, like stand-up comedy and concerts.

Gambling predates recorded history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice found in ancient archaeological sites. However, the modern casino as a place to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century. Gambling crazes swept Europe at this time, and wealthy Italian aristocrats would gather in secret clubs called ridotti to play their favorite games. Technically, these were illegal, but the authorities rarely bothered them.

Because of the huge amounts of money handled in casinos, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. This is why casinos spend a great deal of money on security. The most obvious security measure is cameras, which are placed throughout the facility to monitor activity. Casinos also have catwalks that allow surveillance personnel to look directly down, through one-way glass, on the tables and machines.

More subtle security measures are the routines and patterns that players and dealers follow when playing a game. This makes it easier for surveillance to spot anything that deviates from the norm. For example, in roulette, the betting chips have a unique design that allows the casino to track how much is wagered minute by minute. In addition, the wheels are electronically monitored for any deviations from their expected statistical results.

In recent years, casinos have incorporated more technology to improve security and monitor activities. For example, some chips have a microcircuit that enables the casino to record how much is bet on each color and number, and electronic systems constantly monitor roulette wheels for any anomalies. Other advanced systems include “chip tracking” and fully automated versions of games like blackjack, which eliminate the dealer and require players to push buttons instead of dealing cards. These systems make cheating more difficult, but they are not foolproof.