A casino is an establishment for gambling. These casinos are usually combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops or cruise ships. Some casinos are also known for hosting live entertainment such as stand up comedy, concerts or sports events.

Gambling probably existed before recorded history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice found in some of the oldest archaeological sites. But the modern casino, which offers a variety of ways to gamble under one roof, did not appear until the 16th century during a gambling craze that swept Europe. It was popular among Italian aristocrats, who had private gaming clubs called ridotti [Source: Schwartz].

The first casinos appeared in the United States in Nevada and New Jersey. Later, they expanded to other states where gambling was legal. In the 1970s, many Native American tribes converted their bingo halls into full-fledged casinos.

When most people think of a casino, they picture a Las Vegas-style megaresort that is blazing with neon lights and fun and games. However, a casino can also be small and defined more by the types of gambling it offers than by its glitz and glamour.

Since large amounts of money are handled in a casino, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal. To counter this, casinos have extensive security measures. For example, cameras placed throughout the facility monitor every table, change window and doorway. The camera system is monitored by security personnel who can adjust the cameras to focus on particular suspicious patrons. In addition, video tapes of all transactions are kept.