A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. These establishments, also known as gaming houses or gambling dens, are often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, and cruise ships. Casinos are commonly located in or near cities or on the coast. Some states and countries have legalized casinos, while others have prohibited them.
Originally, casinos were places where members of a social club could gather to gamble. The Ridotto in Venice, which opened in 1638, was the first government-sanctioned gambling house and was the precursor to modern casinos.
Gambling is an expensive enterprise, and as such casinos must spend a considerable amount of money to protect their profits. Most casinos hire a professional security force to patrol the premises and respond to reports of suspicious or criminal activity. They also employ specialized departments to monitor surveillance cameras, known as the eye in the sky, which can be directed to watch individual patrons or specific tables.
Besides gambling, casinos feature entertainment such as shows and live music. Some have themed restaurants that serve upscale dishes such as steaks and seafood. In addition, they offer many other amenities such as swimming pools and spas. With more disposable income across the globe, casinos are booming and becoming more international. Some of the largest and most luxurious are found in the United States. Vegas, for example, has become a destination for people from all over the world. The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas is a great example of a casino that caters to a wide variety of tastes. In addition to a large casino floor, it features three restaurants, a contemporary art gallery, and a three-ring rotating stage for performances.