A casino is an establishment for gambling. In some cases casinos are combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants and other tourist attractions. Some casinos specialize in particular types of games, such as horse or dog racing, while others are known for their buffets and other culinary offerings. Many casinos also feature live entertainment, including stand up comedy, music and theatre.
While lighted fountains, spectacular shows and shopping centers may draw in the crowds, casino’s would not exist without the millions of dollars in profits generated by games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, baccarat, roulette and other casino games provide the billions in profits that casinos rake in every year.
Gambling is almost certainly older than recorded history, with primitive dice and carved knuckle bones appearing in archaeological digs. However, the casino as a place to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not appear until the 16th century when a gambling craze swept Europe. Venice’s Ridotto was the first government-sanctioned gaming house, opening in 1638. It was not a public facility, however; it was reserved for wealthy aristocrats who could afford the high stakes and lavish parties.
While most casino patrons enjoy the excitement and glamour of the games, some gamblers become addicted to compulsive gambling. The costs of treating these gamblers and the negative impact on the local economy offset any monetary gains that the casino generates. For these reasons, some economists question the value of casinos in terms of job creation and tax revenues.