A casino is a gambling establishment with a wide variety of games of chance and other popular entertainment. Its popularity has increased dramatically in recent years and is now found in almost every major city. Many casinos also feature top-notch hotels, spas, restaurants and theaters. Some have even become famous as tourist destinations themselves, like Monte Carlo in Monaco.
While gambling probably predates written history, the idea of a place to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century. A gambling craze was sweeping Europe at the time, and Italian aristocrats often held private parties called ridotti where they could play these newfangled games of chance.
Something about gambling seems to encourage cheating, stealing and scamming in general, so casinos spend a large amount of money on security. This can be seen in the presence of cameras and other technological measures, as well as strict rules of conduct, such as requiring players to keep their cards visible at all times.
Something else that helps casinos make a profit is that nothing is truly left to chance; the house always comes out ahead. The simplest way to describe this is that the house takes a small percentage of all bets made in poker games, for example, or by charging a fee for use of a slot machine. These costs are offset by the fact that a casino attracts many people who would otherwise not visit and thus generates revenue from locals in addition to tourists.