A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games of chance. It also has a number of other entertainment attractions such as restaurants and performance venues. Most casinos offer multiple types of gaming, including slots, table games and card games. Some are located in cities with large populations such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Others are located in more remote locations and serve only local populations.
While the exact history of gambling is unknown, it is believed that it has existed in some form throughout most of human civilization. The word casino, however, is thought to have originated in Italy where the first gambling houses, known as ridotti, developed during a gambling craze that swept Europe during the 16th century.
These early casinos often combined several different games in one place and were staffed by people trained to oversee them. The use of technology to supervise casino operations increased dramatically during the 1990s, as casinos began using computers to monitor betting patterns minute by minute and to detect any statistical deviation that would indicate cheating or other illegal activities.
Due to the large amounts of money handled within a casino, both patrons and employees may be tempted to cheat or steal. For this reason, most casinos have extensive security measures. These include a high level of surveillance and the use of chips instead of actual cash to make it harder for players to keep track of their winnings or losses.