A casino, or gaming house, is an establishment for gambling. Some casinos offer a wide range of games, including roulette, blackjack, craps, and slot machines. Others focus on a specific game, such as baccarat. Many casinos also feature entertainment on the premises, such as live shows, restaurants, and bars. The precise origin of gambling is unknown, but it is clear that people have been playing for money since at least Ancient Mesopotamia.
Gambling is different from other types of recreation, because it involves a social aspect: participants interact with one another and the game dealer, or they are surrounded by other players as in poker. These interactions, along with the noise and excitement, contribute to the fun and euphoria of the experience.
Casinos use a variety of technology to ensure security and that the games are fair. For example, casino chips have microcircuitry that allow the casino to monitor exactly how much is being wagered minute by minute, and to quickly notice any statistical deviations from the expected results. Similarly, roulette wheels are electronically monitored to detect any abnormalities. Casinos employ specialist mathematicians to perform this work.
In the past, casinos were often funded by organized crime figures. Mob money gave casinos the taint of vice, and legitimate businessmen were reluctant to invest in them. However, as the industry grew, large casino owners such as Donald Trump and the Hilton hotel chain realized how much they could make. These companies bought out the mobsters and now operate their casinos without mob interference.