A casino is a facility that offers gambling. While a casino’s entertainment offerings (musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and fancy hotels) draw people in, the vast majority of a casino’s profits come from games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette and other popular casino games account for the billions of dollars casinos rake in each year.

While gambling probably predates recorded history (with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in ancient archaeological sites), the modern casino as we know it developed in the 16th century when a gambling craze swept Europe. The word “casino” is derived from the Italian for little house, and early casinos were often small private clubs where rich citizens could gamble in relative anonymity.

The popularity of casino gambling has grown over time, with many states legalizing this form of entertainment. There are currently more than 1,000 casinos in the United States, and they continue to open at a steady pace. Many of these casinos are located on American Indian reservations, which are not subject to state antigambling laws, but they also exist in Atlantic City and other large cities.

Casinos spend a lot of money on security, which starts with the floor employees who monitor all patrons’ actions for blatant cheating. Dealers are trained to notice telltale signs of palming, marking and other types of fraud. Pit bosses and table managers have a broader view of the games, watching for betting patterns that could signal cheating or collusion.