A casino is a place where people gamble by playing games of chance and skill. It also offers many luxuries to its patrons such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows. There are a number of large casinos in the world, some of which are very big indeed. The largest two are located in the USA and China. As disposable income increases around the globe and travelling becomes more globalised, this is driving growth in these huge casinos.
Although the modern casino is a sprawling complex of restaurants, hotels, shopping centers and entertainment venues, it would not exist without games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and baccarat generate the billions in profits that keep casinos profitable.
Gambling has been a popular pastime in some form or another for almost as long as humans have been around. The precise origins are unknown, but there is evidence of gambling in ancient Mesopotamia, Rome and Elizabethan England. Even primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and dice are found at some archaeological sites.
The casino as we know it today evolved in the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. Rich aristocrats created their own private gambling clubs, called ridotti, where they could indulge in their favorite pastime without the prying eyes of church and state. These early casinos had very simple gambling games, such as rolling a pair of dice or flipping a coin. Casinos now offer a wide variety of games and attract gamblers from all walks of life.