A casino is a place where people can play various games of chance for money. It may also offer other types of entertainment, such as stage shows or dramatic scenery. Casinos are often combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shops, and cruise ships. They may be built on land or on water, or they may be entirely stand-alone structures.

Although gambling certainly predates recorded history – primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice have been found in archaeological digs – the casino as a place where patrons could find a variety of different ways to gamble under one roof did not appear until the 16th century. At that time, a gambling craze swept Europe, and wealthy Italian nobles gathered in private clubs known as ridotti to enjoy their favorite activities. Despite the fact that these social gatherings were technically illegal, their popularity meant that the participants were seldom bothered by local authorities.

Modern casinos are designed around the principles of noise, light, and excitement. Patrons are encouraged to interact with each other, shout encouragement, and receive free drinks and snacks from waiters who circulate throughout the facility. They can also be enticed with extravagant inducements such as free spectacular entertainment, limousine transportation, and elegant living quarters.

Because of the large amounts of money handled within a casino, both patrons and staff members are occasionally tempted to cheat or steal. To discourage this, casinos employ a variety of security measures. For example, cameras located throughout the facility are monitored by security personnel. These cameras can be aimed and adjusted by casino employees to focus on specific patrons, such as those suspected of committing a crime or violating a casino’s rules.