A casino is a place where people can gamble. It can also refer to a specific type of gambling establishment, such as one that specializes in poker or other card games. It may also refer to a building that contains multiple gambling establishments. In the United States, casinos are typically licensed and regulated by state governments.

Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice appearing in the earliest archaeological sites. But the casino as a place for people to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof didn’t develop until the 16th century, during a gambling craze that swept Europe. Aristocrats gathered in private parties called ridotti, where they played dice and other games. The modern casino is heavily reliant on technology to prevent cheating and other security issues. Video cameras are everywhere and a computer monitors each machine minute by minute to detect any statistical deviations from expected results.

Table games like blackjack and roulette are run by live croupiers, while dice games such as craps require players to bet on the outcome of a roll or series of rolls. All of these games have a built-in advantage that the casino expects to win over time, which is known as the house edge.

While the mob once owned many casinos, real estate investors and hotel chains eventually realized how much money they could make from them. Government crackdowns and the threat of losing a gaming license at the slightest hint of mafia involvement have kept mob influence out of most casinos.