A casino, also known as a gaming house, is an establishment for gambling. Most casinos feature a variety of gambling games, such as blackjack, poker, and baccarat, and some even have restaurants. They are also known for hosting live entertainment events, such as concerts and stand-up comedy.

Casinos often have an advantage over players that is mathematically determined and can be described as the house edge. The house edge is the average percentage of money that a casino expects to lose from the bettors, minus any winnings. The house edge of a game is usually small, but it can be significant enough to make a casino profitable over the long term. In addition to the edge on individual games, casinos make money through a vig, or a percentage of the total bets, taken by the casino staff.

The precise origins of gambling are difficult to determine, but it is believed that it existed in some form throughout human history. Evidence of gambling can be found in many ancient societies, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice being some of the earliest archaeological finds. Modern casinos are based on this concept, and they are often designed to be luxurious and exciting.

The first modern casino was opened in Nevada, and it quickly became the most popular destination for gamblers from around the world. However, the casino industry was dominated by organized crime, with mafia figures providing funds for expansion and renovation of Las Vegas properties and influencing the outcome of some games.