A casino is a place where gambling games of chance and skill are played. Modern casinos can range from massive resorts in Las Vegas and Macau to small card rooms in town centers, racetracks, truck stops and even Native American tribes. They are usually owned by investors, corporations and sometimes by local governments. Successful casinos generate billions of dollars a year for their owners, investors and managers and for the companies, restaurants and other businesses that operate them. They also contribute to a significant percentage of state and local tax revenues.

Gambling in some form has been around almost as long as humans have, although it was not until the 19th century that modern casino gambling took off. The precise origin of the word casino is unknown, but it was probably derived from Italian kasino, meaning “little house.”

While there are many different ways to gamble, casinos are all built around the same basic concept: offering people the opportunity to win money by playing games of chance or skill. These games include craps, roulette, baccarat, blackjack and video poker. Each game has a built in mathematical advantage for the casino that can be relatively small, but over time, this advantage adds up.

To offset this advantage, the casino makes a small profit on each bet placed by players, often through a vig or rake. This advantage, together with the money bet by patrons, gives the casino its gross profit, or expected value.