A casino, or gaming establishment, is a place where people can play a variety of gambling games. The term is derived from the Latin “caino”, meaning “gambling house”. Casinos are usually owned and operated by private individuals, corporations, or even the government. They may be located in a large building known as a hotel and casino or on boats, barges, and cruise ships. In addition, casino-type games can be found in racetracks, truck stops, and some bars and restaurants.
Casinos are designed to be visually appealing and are often themed. They use flashy lights and bells to attract gamblers. In the twentieth century, casinos tended to focus their investments on high-rollers, who spend a lot of money and generate a great deal of revenue for the casino. These high-rollers are given special rooms and are often pampered with expensive food, drinks, and service.
Some casinos feature traditional Far Eastern games such as sic bo (which spread to European and American casinos in the 1990s), fan-tan, or pai gow. Card games are also popular in some casinos, with baccarat the principal game in most French casinos and chemin de fer in those of Britain and Portugal. Blackjack and trente et quarante are standard in American casinos, and many also offer poker.
Gambling is not necessarily legal in every jurisdiction, but casinos are, and they provide billions of dollars each year for owners, investors, and employees. In return, casinos must invest significant amounts of capital in security, and many have a history of being the target of organized crime. Because of the vast sums of money handled within a casino, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. To protect their assets, most casinos have elaborate security measures, including cameras.