A casino, also known as a gambling house or gaming establishment, is a building or room in which people can play games of chance for money. Casinos are most commonly found in cities with large populations of tourists, such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Many casinos are combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops, and other entertainment facilities. In addition to standard table games such as blackjack, poker and roulette, some casinos feature far eastern games like sic bo and fan-tan, as well as racetracks for horse racing.
Aside from the obvious security guards at the doors and tables, modern casinos have elaborate surveillance systems. A high-tech “eye in the sky” system allows security staff to monitor patrons from a separate control room that is filled with banks of security cameras. Each camera is adjustable and can be directed to specific areas or individual patrons. Casinos use this type of technology to prevent both cheating and stealing, either in collusion between patrons or by individuals working alone.
The history of the casino is closely linked to the development of legalized gambling in the United States. In the 1960s, organized crime gangsters began investing in casinos as a way to diversify their criminal empires and attract gamblers away from illegal gambling houses such as speakeasies. By the 1990s, many American states had changed their laws to allow casinos and gambling on Native American reservations. As a result, the casino industry grew rapidly and by 2004 there were more than 3,000 casinos in operation worldwide.