A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. It also includes places where people can play table games, such as baccarat and blackjack. Some casinos are combined with hotels, restaurants and shopping centers. They are often themed and may include rides and other attractions. In some countries, casinos are licensed and regulated by government agencies.
While musical shows, lighted fountains and lavish hotels help draw people to the casinos, the billions of dollars that are bet by patrons each year would not be possible without games of chance. Slot machines, roulette, baccarat and craps are some of the most popular games. Other games, such as poker and keno, are less popular but still generate significant revenues for the casinos.
Gambling is believed to predate recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in archaeological sites. But the modern casino as a place where people can find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not appear until the 16th century, when Italian aristocrats began holding private parties at their residences, called ridotti.
The popularity of the casino grew as organized crime groups supplied money to build more and more facilities. These mobsters were willing to risk losing their criminal reputation in order to get involved in legal gambling. They provided the funds and even took sole or partial ownership of some casinos.
The interior design of a casino is meant to create an air of luxury and exclusivity. Lush carpets, richly tiled hallways and carefully designed lighting all contribute to this effect. The casinos on the Vegas strip take this to the extreme, with a wide array of themes and decorations.