A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games of chance. The name is derived from the Latin word for “house.” Casinos are often built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping or cruise ships and offer a range of games, such as blackjack, roulette, slots, poker and craps. Some casinos offer additional entertainment options, such as stage shows and dramatic scenery.

Casinos are designed to appeal to the senses with flashing lights, blaring music and the clang of coins dropping. More than 15,000 miles of neon tubing is used to light Las Vegas casinos. Casinos also use a variety of tricks to lure gamblers into betting on their machines or tables. For example, slot machines are arranged in a maze-like fashion to encourage patrons to explore all the possibilities. Gamblers are encouraged to shout encouragement or ask the waiters for free drinks. Some casinos give out complimentary hotel rooms, dinners or tickets to shows for big spenders. These freebies are called comps and are one way that casinos attract gamblers and keep them coming back.

Although Nevada has long been known as the world’s premier casino destination, it wasn’t the first to open a casino. Atlantic City, New Jersey and Iowa were among the earliest to legalize casinos. Later, Native American tribes opened casinos on their reservations and some states amended their antigambling laws to allow them. Today, casinos are found throughout the world.