Casino is a large building where gambling games are played. It is also a place where entertainment, such as stage shows, are presented. Casinos offer a variety of gambling opportunities, from roulette to craps, blackjack and video poker. Many casinos also have restaurants and free drinks for players. In addition, many casinos have elaborate decorations and architecture. The most famous is probably the Las Vegas strip.
A casino has a house advantage, which is the house’s mathematically determined profit margin on all bets placed in its games. The house edge can be very small (less than two percent), but it is the source of much casino income. This money, which is often referred to as the vig or rake, allows casinos to build extravagant hotel suites, fountains and towers, and to spend millions of dollars on advertising.
Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in ancient archaeological sites. However, the casino as a place for people to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not appear until the 16th century in Italy, when wealthy nobles would meet at private clubs called ridotti. These venues were technically illegal, but rarely bothered by legal authorities.
Because of the large amounts of currency handled within a casino, cheating and stealing by patrons and staff are common. For this reason, most casinos have elaborate security measures. These include cameras located throughout the casino and a separate room filled with banked screens where security personnel can look down through one-way glass at all tables, windows and doors.