What Is a Casino?

A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. It is often combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops, cruise ships or other tourist attractions. Casinos are also known for hosting live entertainment events such as stand-up comedy shows and concerts. Some casinos are also known for their upscale food and beverage offerings.

Casinos have a number of security measures in place to keep patrons safe. Many of these security measures are technology-based, such as the use of video cameras and electronic systems that oversee table games for suspicious activity. In addition, most casinos have a team of employees who oversee the floor and players to ensure that everything is running as it should.

While gaming likely predates recorded history – primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice have been found in archaeological digs – the casino as an institution for gambling did not develop until the 16th century. This coincided with a gambling craze in Europe and the rise of private clubs for Italian nobles, called ridotti, where they could gamble and socialize without fear of the inquisition.

While legitimate businessmen were reluctant to invest in gambling, organized crime syndicates provided the cash needed for expansion and renovation. Mafia figures supplied the money but were not content to merely fund the operations: they became involved in the day-to-day activities of the casino, taking sole or partial ownership, and even influencing the outcomes of some games by intimidation and violence.