A casino is a place where gambling games are played. It may add a number of extra features to attract visitors, such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows. There have been less extravagant places that house gambling activities, however, and these would still be considered casinos.

Whether they are located on the Las Vegas Strip or in the elegant spa town of Baden-Baden, all casinos have one thing in common: They make money by attracting people who want to gamble. The most successful casinos are those that offer a wide variety of gambling activities and can draw people from all walks of life, ranging from high rollers to vacationing families.

Gambling has been a part of human culture for millennia, with evidence dating back to 2300 BC in China. The first games that were similar to today’s poker and blackjack were developed in the 1400s, followed by the modern-day dice game of baccarat in the 1600s.

Casinos have a built-in advantage over patrons that is not related to skill and can be described mathematically as the house edge. In games where players compete against each other, such as poker and blackjack, the casino takes a percentage of each player’s winnings, a practice called rake.

The large amounts of money handled by casinos often encourage staff and patrons to cheat and steal, either in collusion or independently. To protect their assets, casinos employ many security measures. The most basic are security cameras, but they are usually supplemented by electronic devices that can monitor the actions of a particular patron.