A casino is a public place where games of chance are played and where gambling is the primary activity. The modern casino adds stage shows, elaborate themes and restaurants to the gambling basics, but even less lavish places that feature different games of chance would still technically be considered a casino.

The majority of the billions in profits raked in by casinos each year are made from gambling games. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and baccarat are among the most popular of these games.

Gambling in some form has been found throughout history, from the Mesopotamian city of Susa to Napoleon’s France and Elizabethan England. But it wasn’t until Nevada legalized casino gambling in 1931 that the phenomenon really took off.

In 2005, the average casino gambler was a forty-six-year-old woman from a household with above-average income. This group accounted for 23% of all casino visitors. High rollers, who spend tens of thousands of dollars or more at a time, are given extravagant inducements, including free spectacular entertainment, luxurious rooms and transportation, and other benefits.

Because of the large amounts of money handled in a casino, both patrons and employees may be tempted to cheat or steal. But most casinos have many measures in place to deter this, including security cameras and rules of conduct.