The Bellagio is the most famous casino in the world, drawing high-stakes gamblers from around the globe to its elegant gambling floor and live entertainment offerings. The hotel/casino’s dancing fountains and breath-taking art installations are the perfect complement to its extensive selection of slot machines, gaming tables and poker rooms. Its elegance and sophistication make it a top choice for celebrities, royalty and even the movie Ocean’s 11.

While gambling likely predates recorded history, it didn’t become a “casino” in the modern sense until the 16th century during a craze for Italian aristocracy who met to gamble in private spaces called ridotti. These places were technically illegal, but they flourished as a way for the wealthy to gamble and socialize without fear of repercussions from the Inquisition.

Today, casino gambling is a multibillion-dollar industry that is the primary source of income for many American cities. The games of chance – slots, blackjack, roulette, craps and keno – draw millions of visitors each year and generate billions of dollars in profits for casinos. The money casinos make from gambling is often used for things like lighted fountains, shopping centers and extravagant hotels.

A casino’s bottom line is based on its house edge and variance, which are calculated by expert mathematicians hired by the industry. These experts analyze the statistics of each game to predict how much money it will make on average and then adjust the machine’s odds to attract a certain percentage of players. They also look for statistical deviations, which can indicate cheating or a malfunctioning machine.