Casino is an establishment where people gamble and play games of chance. Modern casinos have all kinds of entertainment and other features to offer, but gambling makes up the bulk of the profits for the owners. The clinking of slot machines, the shuffling of cards and the yells of winners and losers make up the soundtrack to casino life.

Almost every major city in the world has a casino, with many boasting palatial buildings and multiple floors of gaming facilities. They are often attached to high-class dining and beverage areas, performance venues where pop, rock and jazz artists perform and other amenities that attract tourists and locals alike.

The precise origin of gambling is not known, but it has been around for thousands of years. Ancient Mesopotamia, Rome and Elizabethan England all had some sort of gambling enterprise. Modern casinos are built on the premise that gambling is a form of entertainment and can be fun and exciting, and they try to attract patrons with elaborate hotels, lighted fountains, shopping centers and theme parks.

In the United States, casinos first appeared in Atlantic City in 1978 and then spread to various American Indian reservations, which are not subject to state antigambling laws. In the 1980s, casinos began to appear on riverboats. Casinos also operate in Europe and elsewhere. Critics argue that the social costs of compulsive gambling outweigh any economic benefits. Many casinos have a high percentage of local patrons, and studies show that casino money is lost to other forms of local entertainment and the cost of treating gambling addictions more than offset any economic gains.