A casino, which is sometimes called a gaming establishment or gambling hall, offers gamblers the opportunity to try their luck at games of chance. A casino may also include other entertainment offerings such as restaurants, bars, shops, a spa or a museum. It is common to find multiple casinos under one roof, with different types of gambling available.
A modern casino is like an indoor amusement park for adults, with the vast majority of its profits coming from gambling. The most popular casino games are slot machines, blackjack and roulette. Casinos also earn large sums of money from keno, craps and baccarat.
In addition to games of chance, casinos are renowned for their elaborate themes and attractions. They feature lighted fountains, musical shows and shopping centers. In addition, many casinos offer free or reduced-fare transportation and hotel rooms, as well as comps (free items) for high rollers.
Casinos are owned and operated by private businesses, such as real estate developers, hotel chains and investment groups. They are often built in or around cities and attract visitors from around the world. Some casinos are old and opulent, while others are sleek and contemporary.
Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found at some of the earliest archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. But the first casinos didn’t appear until the 16th century, during a gambling craze in Europe that saw aristocratic families gathering at private places called ridotti to play games such as baccarat, trente et quarante and chemin de fer.