A casino or gambling house is an establishment where people can play a variety of games of chance for money. Some casinos offer a wide range of additional amenities like restaurants, free drinks, stage shows and dramatic scenery to attract patrons. Others specialize in one type of game, such as blackjack or video poker. In the United States there are over 1,000 casinos and the majority of them are located in Nevada. Other popular casino locations include Atlantic City and Chicago.
While gambling probably predates recorded history, 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 spread across Europe. Before that, there were smaller clubs that provided chances to win or lose on various games of chance, including billiards, bowling, shuffleboard and darts, often in exclusive clubhouses.
The modern casino usually provides a large number of different gaming tables and slot machines. Most games have a mathematical advantage for the casino, which is called the house edge or expected value. The edge can be very small, lower than two percent, or it can be larger for some games, especially those that require skill. The casino earns its profit by a combination of the house edge and player bets, a fee known as the vig or rake.
Casinos must provide security measures because there is always the possibility that patrons will cheat or steal, either in collusion with other players or on their own. Many casinos employ cameras throughout the facility and have bank of monitors that display the entire casino floor.