What Is a Casino?

A casino is a building where people can gamble. It may be as large as a resort complex or as small as a card room. Casinos are found in cities and towns across the United States. They offer many games, including poker, blackjack, craps, roulette and video slots. They also have restaurants, bars and hotels. Many casinos are owned and operated by Native American tribes. Others are owned and operated by private corporations or investors. In the United States, casinos bring in billions of dollars each year. These profits benefit the companies, investors and Native American tribes that own them, as well as the state and local governments that regulate and tax them.

Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice among the oldest archaeological finds. But the modern casino as a place where people could find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. The aristocratic elite even built special places called ridotti where they could hold private parties and gamble without fear of persecution by the Inquisition.

Because a casino deals in large amounts of money, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. For this reason, casinos spend a great deal of time and money on security. They have cameras and other security measures throughout the property, and they enforce rules of conduct.