What Is a Casino?

A casino (or gambling house) is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Casinos are often built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and other tourist attractions. In addition to slot machines and table games, some casinos feature live entertainment such as concerts or stand-up comedy.

The precise origin of gambling is unknown, but evidence has shown that it has been a part of human culture for millennia. The oldest known casino is in China, dating from 2300 BC, when archaeologists discovered wooden blocks used for gaming. Later, dice were a popular casino game in Ancient Rome and the 1400s saw the first card games emerge, including baccarat and trente et quarante.

Among the most famous casinos in the world, Monte Carlo reigns supreme. The Belle Epoque structure, designed by architect Gobineau de la Bretonnerie in 1879, is revered for its luxurious ambiance and wide array of games, including English roulette, French roulette, blackjack, and poker. The posh establishment has also featured in multiple James Bond novels and films, including Never Say Never Again and GoldenEye.

Because of the large amounts of money that change hands within casino facilities, security is a major concern. Most casinos employ a combination of physical security forces and specialized surveillance departments that operate closed circuit television. These teams work closely together to detect and deter criminal activity. In addition, a casino may employ mathematicians who specialize in the analysis of statistical deviations from expected outcomes.