A casino, also known as a gambling house or a gaming room, is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Casinos are often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and other tourist attractions. They may also offer entertainment such as concerts and stand-up comedy.

The origin of the word is uncertain, but it may have been derived from the Latin cazino or the French casino, meaning “house of games.” Casino is also closely associated with the Italian game cassone. Gambling likely existed before recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found at prehistoric sites. But the modern concept of a casino as a place to find multiple ways to gamble under one roof did not emerge until the 16th century, during a gambling craze that swept Europe. Italian aristocrats would host private parties at their houses, called ridotti, where gambling was the primary activity.

During the 19th century, casinos became increasingly common in European cities. In the United States, Nevada was the first state to allow legal gambling, and other states soon followed suit. The casinos were often built near railroad stations or riverboat docks, and they capitalized on the huge number of people who traveled to gamble there.

Casinos make money by giving customers an advantage over the house. This edge can be small, less than two percent of bets, but over time it adds up. Casinos also generate revenue by charging players a commission on their bets, which is sometimes called the vig or rake.