A casino (or gambling house) is a facility for certain types of gambling. Casinos are often built near or combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships and other tourist attractions. Some casinos are also known for hosting live entertainment events such as stand-up comedy, concerts and sports events.

The precise origin of gambling is unknown, but it has long been a popular pastime and it seems to have existed in almost every culture around the world at some time or another. In modern times, casinos began appearing in the United States in the early 1980s as cities like Las Vegas grew and other states changed their laws to allow for casinos. From there, casino gambling spread throughout the country, and by the 1990s most American states had legalized casinos.

Casino security starts on the casino floor, where employees keep a close eye on players and patrons to make sure everything goes as it should. Dealers can easily spot blatant cheating such as palming, marking or switching cards or dice. Table managers and pit bosses have a broader view of the game, watching to see if patrons are stealing chips from each other or if betting patterns suggest collusion.

Slot machines and video poker are the economic mainstay of most American casinos, generating large amounts of revenue from high volume, rapid play at relatively low stakes. Casinos often offer comps to “good” players, which can include free hotel rooms, meals, shows and even limo service or airline tickets.