A casino (also called a gaming house or gambling establishment) is an establishment where people can gamble. Most casinos offer a variety of casino games, such as blackjack, craps, poker, and roulette. Many also have restaurants and bars. Some even host live entertainment such as comedy shows and concerts. Casinos are usually built near or combined with hotels, resorts, cruise ships, retail shops, and other tourist attractions. In the United States, casinos are typically licensed and regulated by state governments.
The casino was invented in the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. Italian aristocrats held private parties at places known as ridotti, where they could enjoy a wide range of gambling games. Although technically illegal, ridotti were rarely bothered by authorities. As casinos became more popular, legitimate businesses were reluctant to get involved, since they had a bad reputation. Mob money poured into Reno and Las Vegas, and mobster owners took sole or partial ownership of several casinos.
Security is an important concern for casino managers. The employees on the casino floor are trained to spot a number of cheating tricks, such as palming and marking dice or cards. They are also expected to keep their emotions in check.
Casinos are designed to distract patrons from their problems by making them feel like they’re in a special place. They use bright colors and gaudy decor to create an exciting atmosphere. In addition, casinos avoid clocks on their walls so that patrons aren’t reminded of the passage of time.