A casino is a place where people play games of chance for money. It is also a place where the house takes a percentage of all bets, which it calls a “house edge”. Casinos often offer comps to encourage gambling. This may include free drinks, hotel rooms, show tickets, or even gambling cash.

The modern casino is more like an indoor amusement park for adults than a gambling hall, but the billions in profits casinos make every year still come from chance games such as slot machines, roulette, blackjack, craps, and keno. Casinos also feature elaborate themes and entertainment attractions such as lighted fountain shows, shopping centers, and luxury hotels.

Gambling in its various forms has been part of human civilization for millennia. Evidence of dice games dates back to 2300 BC, and card games appeared in Europe around 500 AD. In the early 1600s, a game that is now a staple at most casinos—baccarat—first emerged.

In the United States, the first casinos opened in Nevada after state legislators recognized their potential as tourist destinations. They drew visitors from across the country and the world who spent large sums of money on meals, drinks, hotel rooms, and other amenities.

Mobster involvement in the early years of American casinos was a major problem, but federal crackdowns and the fact that real estate investors and hotel chains could afford to buy out the mob meant the mobsters eventually lost their hold on the business. Today, casinos are owned by major business enterprises such as Hilton and the Trump hotel chain, whose deep pockets keep them safe from mob interference.