A casino is a gambling establishment, usually featuring one or more games of chance. The most common games are roulette, baccarat, blackjack, and video poker. Some casinos also offer keno, faro, and other card games. Most casino games have a built-in advantage for the house, which is called the house edge. The house edge can be low (as little as two percent) or high, depending on the game and how it is played. The house edge is the casino’s profit, which it uses to pay winners and cover operating costs.
A casino might also offer complimentary items or comps to attract customers and encourage them to gamble. It might use waiters to serve drinks, or it might give away free food. It might even stage events, such as concerts or sports contests, to create a buzz and draw attention to itself. A casino might use chips instead of cash to make it harder for people to keep track of their winnings or losses.
Although gambling probably existed long before written history, the casino as a place where people could find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century. This was when a gambling craze swept Europe and wealthy Italian nobles held parties in places called ridotti, where they would play cards, dice, or other games with friends and servants. As casinos became more popular, organized crime figures realized they could put their mob money into casinos and become major players in the business.