A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games of chance and skill. Among the many popular gambling games are blackjack, roulette, baccarat, poker, and slots. Casinos can be found in large resorts, specialized gambling houses, and in small card rooms. In addition to gambling, casinos often offer food and drinks, non-gambling entertainment, and hotels.

Casinos make billions of dollars each year, benefiting their owners, investors, and corporations as well as state and local governments. Something about gambling (perhaps the presence of large amounts of money) seems to encourage cheating and stealing, and casinos spend much time and money on security measures to prevent these.

In the United States, Las Vegas is by far the largest casino destination, followed by Atlantic City and Chicago. The number of casinos has been growing steadily, and there are now forty states with legal gaming. In addition to Las Vegas and other large destinations, a number of smaller casinos are located in rural areas.

Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice being found at some of the earliest archaeological sites. But the modern casino as a place for people to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. In Italy, wealthy nobles often held private parties at their residences called ridotti to indulge in gambling and other amusements. The casinos these nobles built were not technically legal, but their popularity meant they weren’t bothered by the Italian Inquisition.