A casino is an establishment for gambling. It is often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops and other tourist attractions. A casino may also host live entertainment events.

The precise origins of gambling are unknown, but it is widely believed that it was popularized by the ancient Romans and Greeks. Gambling in its various forms has since spread throughout the world. Casinos have become a major source of revenue in many countries, especially in the United States, where land-based casinos are most famous for their appearance in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Other casinos have also opened on American Indian reservations and in other places that do not strictly enforce state antigambling laws.

Casinos are essentially self-perpetuating machines that generate gross profits based on the average expected return on each bet. Thus, it is rare for a patron to win more than the casino can afford to pay; therefore, most games are designed with fixed mathematical expectancies and limits on bet amounts. In addition, most casino games are played with chips that contain microcircuitry that allow casinos to monitor the amount of money wagered minute-by-minute, and roulette wheels are electronically monitored to discover any deviation from their expected average return.

The large sums of money handled by a casino make it an attractive target for cheating and theft by both patrons and employees. For this reason, most casinos have security measures in place to deter such activities, which may be carried out either in collusion or by independent operators. These measures typically include video surveillance and a staff of trained security personnel. Some casinos also use more sophisticated technology, such as “chip tracking” (where betting chips have built-in microcircuitry that allows a casino to oversee the exact amount of money wagered on each bet), and a system where slot machine payouts are controlled by computer software rather than by casino employees.