A casino is a place where patrons can gamble and play games of chance. While casinos are often associated with Las Vegas and Atlantic City, they are actually found in many cities around the world. Casinos are a major source of income for some towns and even small cities, and they can be a big draw for tourists. Besides gambling, casinos also offer a variety of other entertainment. Some of these include restaurants, shows and even staged scenery. The main thing that distinguishes a casino from other gambling establishments is the large amount of money handled within the facility. This can lead to patrons and staff being tempted to cheat or steal, so casinos spend a lot of time and effort on security.
The concept of a casino was introduced in the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. At that time, Italian aristocrats would hold private parties at their homes called ridotti to gamble and socialize with friends. While technically illegal, these parties were seldom bothered by the authorities.
Today, casinos are much more choosy about who they accept as patrons. They focus on high rollers, who can spend tens of thousands of dollars in a single visit. In return, these patrons receive comps ranging from free hotel rooms and food to airfare and luxury suites. In addition, technology is used to ensure fairness to all patrons. For example, betting chips have microcircuitry that communicates with computers to monitor the amounts placed minute by minute; and roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly to discover any statistical deviation from expected results.