A casino is a facility for certain types of gambling. It may also be combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, or cruise ships. Many casinos host world class entertainment and performances. The term is also used for establishments that offer other types of games, such as baccarat or keno.

While gambling almost certainly predates written history, the modern casino as a gathering place for various forms of chance was developed during the 16th century during a gambling craze in Europe. Wealthy Italian aristocrats would hold private parties at venues called ridotti [Source: Schwartz] in which they could gamble, drink and socialize without fear of being arrested for breaking the law.

Casinos grew in popularity as more states legalized gambling. Nevada pioneered the concept with its famous Las Vegas Strip, and other cities and towns followed suit, including Atlantic City in New Jersey and some American Indian reservations.

Casinos are generally open to anyone over the age of 21, but some have specific rules regarding who can play and under what conditions. For example, people on state or casino self-exclusion lists are not allowed to gamble. In addition, a person must be at least 21 years old to be hired as a casino employee. In order to ensure that all patrons are treated fairly, casinos have a variety of security measures in place. These can include a physical security force and specialized surveillance departments that monitor the casino’s closed circuit television system, known as the eye in the sky.