What Is a Casino?

A casino, also called a gambling house or a gaming hall, is an establishment offering gambling opportunities. Its customers may gamble in games of chance or in those involving skill. Casinos are most often located in resorts, hotels, restaurants or other tourist attractions. In the United States, casinos are most commonly owned by private corporations. Some states allow for licensed, regulated gaming; in others, the legality of casinos is determined by local law.

Gambling is an activity that has fascinated humans throughout history. While some have viewed it as a vice, others have celebrated it. The precise origins of gambling are unknown, but it is clear that it has been practised since ancient times. In the modern era, it has become one of the most popular activities in the world.

While most people associate a casino with Las Vegas, other cities around the world host gaming establishments. Many European countries, for instance, have a long tradition of casinos. The elegant spa town of Baden-Baden, Germany, first welcomed royalty and aristocracy 150 years ago. Today, it still draws discerning high rollers.

The modern casino relies heavily on technology for security purposes. Cameras monitor patrons to spot blatant cheating (like marking or switching cards) and the use of electronic chips for wagering allows casinos to oversee exactly how much is being wagered minute by minute. A more subtle measure is the routine auditing of pit bosses and table managers for suspicious betting patterns.