A casino, sometimes called a gaming house or gambling hall, is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. Gambling has been a part of human culture for millennia. Archeological evidence shows that dice appeared in 2300 BC China, while cards showed up in 500 AD Italy and blackjack jumped onto the scene in the 1600s. Casinos vary in size and scope, from small backroom gambling parlors to massive Las Vegas megaplexes. They can include a wide variety of games, from classic table games to slot machines, and can offer luxury amenities like live entertainment and top-notch hotels, spas, and restaurants.

The word casino was originally a French term meaning “public hall for music and dancing.” By the second half of the 19th century, it had come to refer to a specific collection of gaming or gambling rooms. The best-known casino is the one in Monte Carlo, opened in 1863 and still a major source of income for the principality. More recently, casinos have spread throughout the world. In the United States, they’ve popped up on Indian reservations and in states that don’t have strict antigambling laws.

Modern casinos usually employ a combination of physical security and a specialized surveillance department. The former patrols the premises, while the latter uses closed circuit television to keep an eye on the action. In addition to these measures, casinos also enforce a code of conduct and behavioral rules that ensure the safety and integrity of their guests.