A casino is a place where gambling games are played. Although musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and lavish hotels help draw in customers, casinos would not exist without the billions of dollars in profits they rake in each year from games of chance like slot machines, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and keno. Aside from their gambling, which is strictly regulated, casinos offer customers a unique and wholesome experience.

The word casino is believed to have originated in Italy, as did the world’s oldest casino – Casino di Venezia. It is situated on Venice’s Grand Canal and guests arrive by free boat shuttle service or on foot.

Gambling, in all its forms, has been part of human civilization for millennia. Archeologists have discovered wooden blocks used in games of chance as early as 2300 BC and the first game still played at many modern-day casinos – baccarat – appeared in the 1400s.

Given the large amounts of money that are handled within a casino, patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal in collusion or independently; most casinos have security measures to prevent this. Some of these include surveillance cameras throughout the casino and the use of standardized playing cards.

Since the 1950s, organized crime figures have provided the bankrolls for some casinos in Las Vegas and Reno, taking full or partial ownership of them and using their money to influence the outcome of certain games. This taint has led to a widespread perception of casinos as criminal enterprises and has contributed to their seamy image.