What Is a Casino?

A casino, also known as a gambling hall or gaming club, is an establishment offering gambling and entertainment. The term is derived from the Italian word cazino, meaning “little house.” Casinos may offer a variety of games such as blackjack, poker, craps, roulette, and bingo. Many casinos also have show rooms and restaurants. In the United States, Las Vegas is the largest casino center, followed by Atlantic City and Chicago. Many casinos are located on Native American reservations, which are exempt from state antigambling laws.

Various security measures are used to prevent cheating and theft in casinos. The most basic measure is to have security cameras throughout the casino. More sophisticated surveillance systems allow security personnel to watch multiple locations simultaneously and focus in on suspicious patrons. These cameras are often controlled from a room filled with banks of security monitors.

Because of the large amounts of money that are handled within casinos, both patrons and staff may be tempted to steal or cheat. In addition to security measures, casino patrons are urged not to gamble with more money than they can afford to lose.

The first casinos were built in Nevada, but they quickly spread across the United States and into other countries. During the 1980s and ’90s, some American states changed their gambling laws to permit casinos on Indian reservations. Casinos are also found in some Asian cities, where they are commonly called pachinko or hanafuta. In addition to standard casino card games, many of these casinos feature Far Eastern games like sic bo, fan-tan, and pai gow.