A casino is a building where people can gamble and play games of chance. Though gambling almost certainly predates recorded history (primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice have been found in archaeological digs), the modern concept of a single place where people can find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not emerge until the 16th century, when European aristocrats hosted private parties at houses called ridotti during a flurry of gambling mania. [Source: Schwartz]

Today’s casinos are much more than just places where you can bet on the outcome of a game; they are entertainment centers with everything from musical shows and lighted fountains to shopping and gourmet restaurants. But, despite all the flash and fancy, the billions in profits that casinos rake in every year are still generated by games of chance like blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and video poker.

Many casinos have security measures in place to protect patrons from each other and from themselves. These include catwalks in the ceiling that allow surveillance personnel to look down through one-way glass on the games being played; tables that have a manager or pit boss overseeing them; and an array of machines designed to stop cheating by keeping track of the chips’ movements.

In addition, many casinos are located on Native American reservations and thus are not subject to state antigambling laws. This has enabled them to expand quickly in recent years, drawing visitors from around the world. As disposable income increases globally, it is likely that more people will be drawn to these luxury entertainment destinations.