A Casino is a gambling establishment that provides patrons with the opportunity to gamble. It may also be referred to as a gaming hall or a gambling house. In the United States a casino is usually an integrated resort, hotel and entertainment complex, although it can be standalone. It offers a variety of games, often with an emphasis on slot machines. Many casinos offer table games, and some have poker rooms. In addition, most casinos have an in-house restaurant and/or bar.
Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in most ancient archaeological sites. However, the modern casino as an all-in-one entertainment venue did not develop until the 16th century when a gambling craze spread throughout Europe. Italian aristocrats would hold private parties in their homes, known as ridotti, to gamble and socialize, and these were the ancestors of modern European casinos.
While Las Vegas is the most famous casino town in the world, casinos are located around the world. In the United States, most are concentrated in Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey, although a few are on American Indian reservations, which are exempt from state antigambling laws.
Due to the large amounts of money handled by casino staff and patrons, security is a major issue for most casinos. Cheating and stealing are fairly commonplace, and many casinos use security cameras to deter these activities. Casinos are also vulnerable to economic changes. When unemployment rises, people lose the ability or motivation to gamble and casinos suffer.