A casino is a place where gambling activities take place. The word is derived from the Latin commodum et calumniae, meaning “to trade in something of value.” Although gambling has been a part of almost every society throughout history, it was only in the twentieth century that it became a widespread and legalized activity.
In addition to the obvious attractions of games, casinos provide a number of other amenities. For example, there are restaurants, free drinks, and stage shows in many casinos. Some also offer a variety of exotic games, such as sic bo, fan-tan, and pai gow poker. They may also include traditional Far Eastern games like two-up, baccarat, and banca francesa.
Modern casinos have extensive security systems. These usually involve a physical security force and a specialized surveillance department. The former patrols the premises and responds to calls for help or reports of definite criminal activity. The latter operates a closed circuit television system, referred to as the eye-in-the-sky, that allows staff to monitor all areas of the casino at once. The cameras can be directed to focus on suspicious patrons by security workers in a separate room.
The atmosphere in a casino is designed to stimulate gamblers. It is often noisy and bright, with red being a common decorating color for its stimulating and cheering effects. Windows and clocks are often absent from the premises, as they can make it easy for people to lose track of time.