A casino is a facility where customers can gamble by playing games of chance, including poker, blackjack, roulette and craps. The word casino is most often used to refer to a large gambling house in Las Vegas, Nevada, but the business model has spread to many other places. In fact, there are more than 1,000 casinos in the United States alone, and they can be found all over the world.
While modern casino amenities such as theaters, lighted fountains, shopping centers and lavish hotels help to draw in customers, the billions of dollars in profits generated by the games of chance themselves are what keep casinos in business. Slot machines, table games such as baccarat and chemin de fer and a variety of card games provide the basis for the profits that casinos generate every year.
Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice being found in some of the earliest archaeological sites. But the modern casino as a place for people to find many different ways to gamble under one roof did not emerge until the 16th century, when a gaming craze took hold in Europe. During this time, Italian aristocrats often hosted private parties at facilities called ridotti. Technically, these were illegal, but they rarely ran afoul of the law.
The casino industry grew dramatically during the 1980s, as states legalized gambling on Indian reservations and other areas. In addition, the MGM Grand on the Las Vegas Strip became a renowned destination and was even featured in the 2001 film Ocean’s Eleven.