A casino, which is also known as a gambling establishment or gaming room, is a place where people can play a variety of games of chance for money. A casino may offer a wide range of additional attractions, such as restaurants, free drinks, stage shows, and dramatic scenery, to attract gamblers. While some casinos focus on a specific type of gambling, such as poker and craps, others feature a wide variety of games.

Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in archaeological sites. But casinos as places for people to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof didn’t emerge until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe and Italian nobles began holding private parties at their homes, called ridotti, where they could wager large amounts of money without being bothered by the law.

The casino industry has long been a lucrative business for its owners, who earn money from the house edge of each game. That small advantage can amount to millions of dollars over the course of a year, enabling casinos to build elaborate hotels and fountains, giant pyramids, towers, and replicas of famous landmarks. In addition, casinos often earn money from the sale of tickets to shows and limo service and airline tickets for big spenders. These extras are called comps and are based on the average time and amount of money a player spends at a casino.