A casino, also known as a gaming hall or a gambling house, is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Some casinos offer video poker, keno, and other electronic games in addition to traditional table games such as blackjack and roulette. A casino is also known for its entertainment options, including live music and shows. It may be combined with a hotel, restaurant, retail shopping, or cruise ship.
The precise origin of gambling is unknown, but it has been found in almost every culture worldwide. People have gambled with primitive proto-dice and carved knuckle bones, but the modern casino as an institution for gambling emerged in the 16th century during a gambling craze among European aristocracy. These institutions, called ridotti, were private clubs where aristocrats could enjoy various forms of gambling without fear of legal prosecution.
Modern casinos are largely run by large hotel and gambling companies with deep pockets, which can afford to buy out any mob influence. As a result, they are virtually assured of gross profit (and the casino industry as a whole is one of the most lucrative businesses in the world). The most profitable casinos also offer lavish inducements to big bettors, such as free spectacular entertainment and transportation, elegant living quarters, and other amenities. A small percentage of the profits from each game is returned to players as winnings.