What Is a Casino?

A casino is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. Casino gambling is big business and generates billions of dollars in revenue each year for the companies, investors and Native American tribes that operate them. Casinos can range in size from massive resorts to small card rooms. Casino-type game machines are also found at racetracks as racinos and in bars, restaurants and grocery stores.

Casinos are a major source of income for many countries, bringing in millions of tourists and locals each year to gamble, enjoy concerts and other entertainment. The Bellagio in Las Vegas, for example, is famous worldwide for its dancing fountains and high-end dining options. Its casino is a popular destination for both casual and high-stakes players, and was even featured in the 2001 film Ocean’s 11.

Although gambling probably predates written history, casinos as we know them today developed in the 16th century. The first one opened in Monte Carlo, which still offers a wide variety of games and is regarded as the world’s premier gambling destination.

A casino’s financial security depends on a combination of physical security and specialized surveillance systems. The latter include closed circuit television, which is often referred to as the eye in the sky. It allows security personnel to monitor activity in the casino floor and spot suspicious or definite signs of criminal behavior. Other surveillance techniques use catwalks on the ceiling and allow security personnel to look directly down, through one way glass, at table and slot machines.