A casino is a place where people can gamble on games of chance. While casinos have added entertainment and luxuries to help attract customers, gambling remains the primary attraction and provides billions in profits for casino owners every year. Slot machines, blackjack, poker, roulette and other table games are the foundation of the modern casino.
Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice appearing in archaeological sites around the world [Source: Schwartz]. But the concept of a casino as a gathering place for several forms of gambling under one roof did not emerge until the 16th century, when Europe experienced a flurry of gaming crazes and Italian aristocrats often held private parties in places called ridotti where gambling was the main focus of the party.
In the United States, Las Vegas was the first to capitalize on the trend, drawing visitors with dazzling stage shows and luxurious accommodations. Casinos were also popping up in other cities, including Atlantic City and New Jersey. Then, real estate investors and hotel chains realized they could run their own casinos without the mob and took control.
In the modern era, casinos have become almost like indoor amusement parks for adults with a vast array of entertainment choices, from restaurants and free drinks to stage shows and dramatic scenery. Some even have luxury perks, such as private planes to pick up high rollers. The most famous casino of all is probably the Bellagio in Las Vegas, which features a spectacular fountain show and a vast selection of game tables and slot machines. It’s also featured in the movie Ocean’s 11 and has a reputation for elegance and sophistication that has made it a magnet for both casual and high-stakes gamblers.