A casino is a place where gambling games are played. Some casinos add luxuries like restaurants, free drinks, stage shows and dramatic scenery to help attract players. But a basic casino focuses on the gambling activities themselves. There have been many different games of chance in almost every culture through history, from ancient Mesopotamia and Greece to Elizabethan England and Napoleon’s France.

There are a number of security measures that casinos take to protect patrons and ensure fair play. One way is to monitor the game with cameras. Another is to monitor the patterns and routines of the players themselves. If something is out of the ordinary, it is much easier for security personnel to spot and stop cheating or other illicit behavior.

In addition to gaming facilities, casinos often have prime dining and beverage establishments as well as performance venues for pop, rock, jazz, and other performers. Some even have theme parks or shopping malls attached to their facilities. These features can make a casino more appealing to visitors, especially families with children who might otherwise find the gaming environment off-putting.

While the vast majority of casino visitors are responsible gamblers, a small percentage of them are addicted. These high rollers generate a disproportionate share of casino profits and contribute to the negative economic impact casinos have on communities. They also divert local spending from other forms of entertainment and erode property values. This has led some politicians to oppose the opening of new casinos in their states.