What Is a Casino?

A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Some casinos are combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and other tourist attractions. In some countries, casinos are called gambling houses. In the United States, casinos are often located on Indian reservations and are exempt from state antigambling laws.

The precise origin of gambling is unknown, but it is clear that in many societies games of chance and wagering have long been an important part of entertainment. Some of the earliest evidence is from 2300 BC China, where archeologists found wooden blocks used for gaming, followed by dice in 500 AD and playing cards in the 1400s. Casinos have been around for a long time, but their popularity has fluctuated and they have often been associated with crime, prostitution, and violence.

Some modern casinos use sophisticated technology to supervise games. For example, in “chip tracking,” betting chips with built-in microcircuitry interact with electronic systems at tables to enable the casinos to oversee the exact amounts wagered minute by minute and alert them to any anomaly; roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly to discover any statistical deviations from expected results. In addition, some modern casinos use catwalks above the floor on which surveillance personnel can look directly down through one way glass at players and the games.

Other modern casinos feature a variety of games and offer live entertainment. For example, Caesars Palace in Las Vegas features a theater known as the Colosseum that has hosted such entertainers as Frank Sinatra (before his argument with a manager led to his departure from the venue in 1970), Celine Dion, Elton John, Cher, and Mariah Carey.