A casino (also known as a gambling house) is an establishment for certain types of gambling. The word is derived from the Latin cazino, meaning “little house”. Modern casinos are largely buildings or complexes that contain various games of chance and skill. They may also feature entertainment venues such as shows or bars. The profits from these facilities provide billions in revenue for the owners, investors, and state or local governments that regulate them.
Although casino gambling probably predates written history, the modern casino is a thoroughly modern invention. The first modern casinos appeared in Europe during the 16th century, during a gambling craze that was then sweeping the continent. These were primarily social clubs, called ridotti, for wealthy Italian nobles who could afford to gamble freely there without fear of the Inquisition.
Casinos are often located in resorts and hotels, but they can be found in other places as well, including cruise ships, airports, and racetracks converted to racinos. In the United States, the first legal casino opened in Atlantic City in 1978, and other casinos soon popped up around the country as state laws changed to allow them.
Security is a major concern for many casinos, especially given the large amount of money that changes hands in a short period of time. The most obvious precaution is the use of cameras, which are placed throughout the facility and can be manipulated to capture even the slightest infraction. Other measures include a rigorous hiring process to ensure that employees are trustworthy, and rules that forbid cheating or stealing by patrons or among staff members.