A casino is a facility where gambling games are played. It can also refer to an establishment offering a variety of pleasurable activities such as music and dancing. In most cases, a casino will include various table and video games such as blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat, poker, etc. Gambling probably predates recorded history, but the concept of a casino as a place where multiple ways to gamble are offered under one roof did not emerge until the 16th century, when a gambling craze spread across Europe.
Casinos earn money by charging patrons a fee to play their games. The amount charged varies by game, but the house has a mathematically determined advantage in all of them, known as the house edge. The house edge can be as low as two percent, but it adds up to millions of dollars in profits for casinos each year. In some cases, casinos offer complimentary items or comps to players to offset this cost. Casinos may employ elaborate surveillance systems, such as catwalks over the gaming tables and slot machines that allow security workers to look down on patrons through one way glass.
Casinos can be lavish temples of temptation, decked out with opulent furnishings and overflowing bars. Some of the most decadent ones are in Las Vegas, where the Cosmopolitan, which opened in 2010, dared to be sexy and uninhibited, and boasts 21 miles of crystal beads in its Chandelier Bar. The Wynn, which reopened in 2015 after a $1bn renovation, is another glittering example.