A casino (also known as a gambling house or a gaming room) is an establishment for certain types of gambling. It is located in or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and cruise ships. Some casinos are also known for their live entertainment and other leisure activities.
The term casino originated in the United States, where the games were first introduced in the early 20th century. In Nevada, the Las Vegas Valley has the highest concentration of casinos. Atlantic City and Chicago are other major gaming cities. Casinos are regulated by state and local government agencies. The large amounts of money handled within a casino make it susceptible to attempts at cheating and theft, both by patrons and staff. To prevent these problems, most casinos use a variety of security measures. These can include a random audit of winnings, CCTV throughout the building, and a security force dedicated to monitoring all activity in the casino.
Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found at archaeological sites. But the modern casino as a place to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe and Italian aristocrats would hold private parties in places called ridotti [Source: Schwartz]. These were private clubs that were technically illegal, but rarely bothered by the Inquisition because their members financed the operations with funds from other criminal enterprises like drug dealing and extortion.