A casino, or gambling house, is a place where people gamble by playing games of chance. These games include blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and slots. The casinos make their money by charging a fee to players for the use of the equipment and the chance to win real money. They may also offer free drinks, food and entertainment. Some of the largest casinos in the world are huge resorts that feature hotels, restaurants and non-gambling activities along with their gaming floors.
While musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate themes help draw in crowds, casinos would not exist without games of chance. Slot machines, poker, keno, baccarat, craps and other gambling games are the backbone of casinos, providing billions in profits to their owners every year.
Gambling in some form has existed since ancient times, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in the oldest archaeological sites. While the exact origins of modern casino gambling are unclear, it is known that they originated in Europe, with the first Atlantic City casinos opening in 1978. Several American states changed their laws in the 1980s and 1990s to permit casinos, most notably Nevada. Others were opened on American Indian reservations, where they are not subject to state antigambling laws.
The casino floor is filled with hundreds if not thousands of different gambling games. Each game has a specific set of rules and expected behaviors. For example, the way in which cards are shuffled and dealt, where betting spots are located on a table, and how patrons react to the game all follow certain patterns. This helps security personnel spot suspicious behavior quickly.