A casino, also known as a gambling hall, is a place where people can find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof. While gambling almost certainly predates recorded history (the earliest dice are carved from stone and have been found at many archaeological sites), the modern casino as we know it did not develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe and Italian aristocrats held private parties at their homes called ridotti [Source: Schwartz].

Gambling in a casino usually involves playing games of chance with an element of skill. These games include blackjack, baccarat, roulette, and craps. The house has a mathematical advantage in these games, which is known as the house edge. The casino makes its profit by taking a percentage of the money wagered on a game or charging an hourly fee for certain games such as poker. Casinos may also give out complimentary items or comps to players, such as free hotel rooms, food, show tickets, and even limo service.

Because of the large amounts of money handled within a casino, security is a major concern. Patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently; casinos spend a great deal of time and money on security measures. These may include cameras located throughout the casino, sophisticated electronic monitoring systems, and rules for players to follow that minimize the opportunities for cheating or stealing. Generally, players must be at least 21 to play in most US casinos.