A Casino is a place where gambling games are played. Though casinos often add a slew of other amenities like restaurants, free drinks and stage shows, they would not exist without the games themselves. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and other popular games account for the billions of dollars in profits raked in each year by casinos.
Modern casinos may be massive resorts or small card rooms. They can be found in urban centers and rural areas, on cruise ships and in truck stops. Gambling is also legal in some states in a special type of facility called a racino, where horse racing tracks offer casino-style games such as poker and blackjack.
Casinos have a reputation for attracting high rollers, or gamblers who wager large amounts of money. High rollers are typically older adults with above-average incomes and plenty of vacation time. They gamble in special high-stakes rooms and receive comps (free goods or services) that can be worth tens of thousands of dollars.
Although gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, the idea of a central place for people to find a variety of different ways to gamble emerged in the sixteenth century, when a gambling craze took hold in Europe. Italian aristocrats held private parties in places called ridotti, which were really just small casinos that allowed them to gamble without fear of persecution by the Inquisition. The popularity of these small casinos prompted larger public venues to open, leading to the modern casino.