A casino, also known as a gaming house or a gambling house, is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Some casinos are standalone, while others are built in or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops or cruise ships. Some are purely recreational, while others focus on high-stakes games like poker or black jack. In addition to casino games, many casinos offer other entertainment such as stage shows and concerts.

Something about gambling (probably the presence of large sums of money) seems to encourage people to cheat, steal or scam their way into a jackpot. For that reason, casinos spend a lot of time and money on security measures. They have everything from catwalks that run along the ceiling to allow surveillance personnel to look down through one-way glass at the patrons, to sophisticated computer systems that monitor each machine’s activity to detect unusual patterns.

Historically, many casinos were controlled by mobster families or mafia groups. But as real estate investors and hotel chains grew ever richer, they began buying out the mob and running their own casinos independently. In addition, federal crackdowns on mob involvement and the threat of losing a license for operating a casino have forced most mobsters out of the business.

The most famous casino is probably the Bellagio in Las Vegas, which has a reputation for being elegant and sophisticated. Its architecture and art collection have been praised by many. It has also been featured in several movies, most notably Ocean’s 11. The casino has a full range of table games like roulette, blackjack and baccarat as well as 316 slot machines.