A casino is a place where people play a variety of gambling games. Often casinos add other entertainment elements to make the experience more enjoyable for visitors. Some of these include restaurants, free drinks, stage shows and dramatic scenery.
Casinos are located all over the world. In the United States Las Vegas is by far the largest gaming center. Many other cities and towns across the country have casinos. The Hippodrome in London, England, is one of the most famous casinos in the world. It was built in 1900 and is still a major tourist attraction today. In the latter half of the 20th century almost all European countries changed their laws to allow casinos.
Because of the large amounts of money handled, casinos are vulnerable to fraud and theft by both patrons and staff. This is why most casinos have security measures in place to prevent these types of incidents. Cameras are a common sight in casinos, and most have a dedicated security team that monitors activity on the floor.
Although gambling has probably existed since the beginning of recorded history, the casino as a gathering place for various forms of betting did not develop until the 16th century. This was during a time when a gambling craze swept Europe. Wealthy aristocrats gathered at their private gaming clubs, known as ridotti, to gamble and socialize. Mob involvement in the early casinos was common, but federal crackdowns and the risk of losing a license at the slightest hint of mob influence have forced many legitimate casino businesses to distance themselves from the mafia.