A casino is a place where people can gamble on various games of chance. These include poker, baccarat, blackjack, roulette, craps and video games such as slots and video poker. Some casinos offer a variety of live entertainment as well. Las Vegas is world-famous for its casinos, but casinos exist in many other locations around the world.

Although gambling probably predates written history, the modern casino is a recent development. The first casinos were built in the 16th century as a way to provide a variety of ways for people to gamble under one roof. The casinos were often associated with mob activities, but federal anti-mob laws and the ability of large casino companies to invest millions of dollars in security helped to drive out the mobsters.

Casinos make their money by generating a mathematical edge on all bets placed by patrons. This advantage may be small – lower than two percent on a given game – but it adds up over the billions of bets placed each year. This gives the casino enough revenue to fund things like hotel suites, elaborate fountains and lighted buildings.

Some casinos also make a good deal of money from comps, or free goods and services. This includes free hotel rooms, show tickets and food. Generally, casinos will only give these free items to people who spend a lot of time and money gambling. This enables them to keep track of what each person is spending and make sure they are getting the most out of their gambling experience. In addition, casino employees watch and monitor players for signs of cheating or theft.