A casino is a building that contains gambling facilities, such as slot machines and table games. It may also contain entertainment venues where pop, rock and jazz musicians perform for the benefit of casino patrons. Casinos are often heavily guarded and have sophisticated security measures in place to prevent cheating, robbery and other crimes. Many casinos use chips instead of actual money to make it less tempting to steal. Some casinos have special surveillance systems that monitor the entire casino floor through one-way glass windows from a room filled with rows of screens.
Gambling in some form is found in almost every society throughout history. While there are no reliable statistics on the overall percentage of people who gamble, most people agree that it is a large portion of the population. While the precise origins of gambling are unclear, it is thought to have started in Ancient Mesopotamia, Rome and ancient Greece.
In modern times, casinos grew rapidly after states passed laws to legalize gambling and open them to the public. The first large-scale casinos were built in Nevada and later Atlantic City, but they soon spread throughout the United States and other countries. Casinos are also common on American Indian reservations, where they are often not subject to state anti-gambling statutes.
Today, casinos are often large and luxurious resorts with more than just gambling facilities. Many have fine dining and drinks, swank residential-style rooms, exciting nightclubs and other entertainment venues. They are designed to keep gamblers and non-gamblers happy and spending money.