A casino is a building where people can gamble and play games of chance. It also may refer to a place where people meet to gamble in a group. Casinos vary in size and are located all over the world. Some are in cities like Las Vegas, which is internationally famous for gambling. Others are more modest. Many states have legalized casinos, and a growing number have gambling establishments on Indian reservations.
Every casino game has a built in mathematical advantage for the house, and the total edge over the long term can be quite large (as much as five percent). This is how casinos make their money. This advantage is usually shared with the employees and owners of the casino through a commission or rake, which is taken from every bet made by a patron. The house advantage is less significant in games where there are elements of skill, such as blackjack and video poker.
Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in ancient archaeological sites. However, the modern casino as a place to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. Italian aristocrats would meet to gamble in private clubs called ridotti.
Because of the large sums of money handled, there is always a temptation for casino employees and patrons to cheat or steal from each other or from the casino. Casinos therefore take security measures to protect their customers and workers.