A casino is a gambling establishment, where patrons play games of chance for money or other rewards. Some casinos also offer other amenities such as restaurants and hotels. Casinos are regulated by law and most have a certain atmosphere of glamour and luxury, with flashing lights and heavily staffed gaming tables. Most modern casinos have an extensive range of real money games to choose from. The most popular games include blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and poker. Casinos are usually located in large cities or tourist destinations, and some are operated by Native American tribes.
The precise origin of gambling is unknown, but it is widely believed that it has been a part of human culture for thousands of years. Evidence of early gambling activities is found in a variety of archaeological sites, from primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice to the Chinese game of mahjong and the European game of billiards. The modern casino owes its development to the legalization of gambling in Nevada in the 1920s. After that, several other states allowed legal gambling operations, including those on riverboats and Indian reservations.
Because of the large amounts of money handled within a casino, both staff and patrons may be tempted to cheat or steal. To prevent this, modern casinos employ a combination of physical security forces and specialized surveillance departments that monitor closed circuit television for suspicious or definite criminal activity. Despite these efforts, some casinos have been victimized by crime.