A casino is a building where people can gamble on games of chance. Modern casinos offer entertainment, dining and shopping as well as gambling, but most of the billions of dollars that they rake in each year are generated by casino games. Slot machines and table games like blackjack, roulette, craps and baccarat are the economic mainstays of casino operations. Other games, such as keno and baccarat, also provide a significant amount of casino revenue.

Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice among the earliest archaeological finds. But the modern casino, a place where a variety of different ways to gamble are available under one roof, did not appear until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. Italian aristocrats held private parties at places called ridotti to gamble and socialize. The houses were not technically legal, but authorities did little to stop them.

Modern casinos use many techniques to control gambling. Their security departments are often divided into a physical force that patrols the floors and a specialized computer-operated surveillance department that runs the closed circuit television system. This system is a powerful deterrent against criminal activity, but it is not foolproof.

Casinos rely on customer service to attract and keep customers. They offer a wide range of perks, such as free meals and drinks, discounted hotel rooms and show tickets. In addition, many casinos have brightly colored walls and floors, such as red, to stimulate the senses and create a cheery mood that contrasts with the serious business of gambling.