Casino (pronounced: kahn) is an institution that offers games of chance. These include poker, blackjack, craps, roulette, and slot machines. A successful casino can bring in billions of dollars annually for the companies, investors and Native American tribes that run it. In addition, many state and local governments profit from gambling taxes and fees.
Modern casinos have become massive entertainment complexes with restaurants, night clubs and hotels. They often feature spectacular architecture, such as pyramids, towers and replicas of famous landmarks. Casinos also employ thousands of people. They are usually located in states with the highest populations of people who gamble. In the United States, casino gambling is regulated by state law. The first large casino was built in Las Vegas in 1955, when owners realized that Americans would travel long distances to play their favorite games of chance.
The precise origins of gambling are unknown, but it appears to have existed in some form throughout history. Various ancient archaeological sites contain primitive protodice, cut-knuckle bones, and carved six-sided dice. However, a casino as an organized gambling establishment did not appear until the 16th century. In the beginning, aristocrats often played casino games in private rooms called ridotti.
Something about the presence of large sums of money encourages people to cheat, steal and scam their way into a win. For this reason, casinos spend a lot of time and money on security. For example, in table games pit bosses and manager oversee each game, watching for blatant cheating or suspicious betting patterns. In addition, many casinos have catwalks in the ceiling that allow surveillance personnel to look down through one-way glass at tables and slots.