A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of gambling games. It can also offer non-gambling activities, such as restaurants and bars, and even hotels. In many countries, casinos are heavily regulated. The word casino is derived from the Latin cazino, meaning “to chance.” The earliest American casinos were located in Nevada, but they began to spread throughout the country as other states changed their antigambling laws and opened them up to out-of-state visitors. During the 1960s, organized crime figures provided most of the capital to build and operate them. Mob money helped the casinos develop a reputation for glamour and decadence, and they attracted high-stakes gamblers from around the world.
A modern casino may have a security force that patrols the premises and responds to calls for assistance or reports of suspicious activity. It may also have a specialized surveillance department that monitors its closed circuit television systems, often referred to as the “eye in the sky.” Elaborate computerized tracking systems can note betting patterns and even tell when a croupier is throwing dice or cards in a dishonest manner.
The most common casino games are roulette, blackjack, and poker. Slot machines are also very popular and can be played at a large number of different casinos. Some have more specialized games, such as sic bo (a Chinese game that became popular in Europe during the 1990s), baccarat, and fan-tan. Traditionally, Asian casinos have offered several traditional Far Eastern games as well.