A casino, or gambling hall, is a place where people can play a variety of games, including poker, blackjack, roulette and slots. It may also offer other amusements such as sports betting and theater shows. Most casinos are licensed and regulated by government authorities. In the United States, the largest casinos are located in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. Some casinos are operated by Native American tribes, and some are located on or near Indian reservations, which are exempt from state gambling laws.
Aside from gaming, casinos often have top-notch hotels, restaurants, bars and shops. Some have live entertainment, and some even have art galleries and museums. However, visiting one of these establishments can be quite expensive, especially if you plan on splurging on all the amenities.
Although the origin of gambling is obscure, primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice have been found in archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. The modern casino, as a place for people to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof, developed during the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. Italian aristocrats would hold private parties at places called ridotti, where they could gamble away their fortunes without fear of the inquisition or prosecution. Today, casinos employ a variety of measures to prevent cheating and stealing. For example, patrons and employees are usually filmed by security cameras, and the cards are shuffled and dealt following certain patterns. These routines make it easier for security personnel to spot anything out of the ordinary.