A casino (also known as a gambling establishment) is a building or room where people can gamble on games of chance. The games played in a casino include card games, table games and video games. Besides gambling, some casinos also host events and shows. In the United States, the largest concentration of casinos is in Las Vegas. Other cities with significant numbers of casinos include Atlantic City, New Jersey and Chicago.
Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found at some archaeological sites. However, the casino as a place where people could find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not emerge until the 16th century with the advent of the gaming craze in Europe. Rich Italian aristocrats often held private parties, called ridotti, where they would play various types of gambling-related games.
While casino patrons are often tempted to cheat and steal, in collusion or independently, the casino industry relies on mathematicians and computer programmers specializing in gambling analysis to develop game rules that minimize the house advantage. The house edge can be very small, usually less than two percent, depending on the specific rules and number of decks used in a particular game. The casino’s profit comes from the difference between this edge and the total amount of money bet by players, minus any winnings.
To attract high rollers, some casinos feature special rooms where players can wager tens of thousands of dollars at a time. Many casinos also offer complimentary drinks, snacks and entertainment to draw in more gamblers.