Casino is a gambling establishment that offers a wide range of games of chance. It is an international industry, and the largest casinos are located in the United States, China, and Macau. The most popular games include slot machines, black jack, roulette, craps, baccarat, and poker. Casinos also offer a variety of other entertainment options, such as shopping centers, music shows, and restaurants.
The precise origin of gambling is unknown, but it is believed to have predated written history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice found at many archaeological sites. The modern casino first appeared in the 16th century, during a gambling craze that swept Europe. The word “casino” derives from the Italian word for a small clubhouse, where elite Italian aristocrats met to gamble and socialize. These venues were not technically legal, but they were rarely bothered by the authorities [Source: Schwartz].
In America casinos began appearing in Atlantic City in 1978, and in the 1980s they began opening on American Indian reservations, which are exempt from state antigambling laws. In the 21st century, a number of American states have amended their laws to allow casino gambling.
Casinos make money by taking a percentage of each bet, or vig. This advantage is very small, and over time it adds up to billions of dollars in profits for the casinos. In order to maximize their profits, casinos try to attract high rollers by offering them lavish inducements such as free spectacular entertainment, luxury transportation and accommodations, reduced-fare food and drinks while gambling, and private living quarters.