What Is a Casino?

A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Modern casinos are elaborate entertainment complexes, with a wide range of games and services available. They are often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops and other tourist attractions. The majority of the revenue for casinos comes from gambling. The main gambling games are slot machines, roulette, blackjack, baccarat and craps. Casinos may also offer poker, sports betting and more.

The casino as an institution for gambling dates back to the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. Italian nobles would meet in private clubs called ridotti to gamble and socialize, despite the fact that gambling was illegal in most of Europe at that time.

Throughout the 20th century, casinos became increasingly sophisticated and specialized in high-stakes games like blackjack and roulette. These “high-roller” games are played in special rooms away from the main floor and have stakes that can be in the tens of thousands of dollars. In order to attract these high-stakes players, casinos offered them comps – free goods or services – worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars. These included free hotel rooms, meals, show tickets and limo service.

The dark side of casinos includes a risk that patrons will attempt to cheat or steal, either in collusion with other patrons or by acting independently. Security measures are therefore a vital component of any casino. These measures can include physical security, such as cameras and door locks, as well as technological security, such as electronic card readers.