A casino is a place where people play games of chance and skill for money. Although the term “casino” can be used to describe any public place that offers such games, most casinos specialize in providing a variety of gambling products, such as blackjack, poker, roulette, and slot machines. Many casinos also offer stage shows and restaurants, and are situated near or combined with hotels, retail shopping, cruise ships, and other tourist attractions.

A thriving business, casinos bring in billions of dollars each year for the companies, investors, and Native American tribes that own them. In addition, the gambling industry has become a major source of revenue for state and local governments.

Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found at archaeological sites. However, the modern casino as an institution for collecting different forms of gambling under one roof did not develop until the 16th century during a frenzied European gambling craze. During that time, Italian aristocrats hosted parties at houses called ridotti, where gambling was the primary activity.

The earliest casinos were run by organized crime syndicates, and mob-controlled operations still operate in some places today. But the development of more sophisticated casinos, combined with federal crackdowns and the fear of losing a gaming license at any hint of mob involvement, has driven the mobsters out of many businesses. In their place are real estate developers and hotel chains, such as Donald Trump’s empire and the Hilton hotel chain, that have deep pockets and the ability to avoid any mob interference.