A casino is a gambling establishment offering a wide variety of games of chance to its patrons. Games include slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and baccarat. Some casinos offer a variety of themed games to appeal to different audiences, such as sports and culture.

Gambling in one form or another has been around since prehistoric times, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in archeological sites. But the casino as a central place to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze hit Europe. Italian aristocrats would hold private parties, called ridotti, in their villas during this time; while technically illegal, these gambling clubs were often not bothered by the authorities.

Casinos employ a number of security measures to keep their patrons and assets safe. Some of the most visible are security cameras, but many casinos also rely on rules of conduct and behavior to prevent cheating and theft. A friend of mine once worked security at a casino in Atlantic City and quit after three months because he was so disgusted by the people who stood at slot machines soiling themselves because they thought they were on winning streaks.

Casinos are huge businesses, bringing in billions of dollars each year. While they have to spend a lot of money on things like spectacular shows, lighted fountains and luxury hotels, the bulk of their profits comes from games of chance. Every game has a built in edge for the casino, but this small profit margin is enough to support the millions of bets placed each day by people who want to try their luck at winning a fortune.