A casino is a gambling establishment that offers players a variety of games of chance and some skill. Most casino games have a mathematical advantage for the house, which is called the house edge. The casino earns revenue from the games by charging a commission, known as the rake, to players who place bets and winnings on games of chance and from the fees paid to dealers in card and table games. The casino also offers free goods and services, called comps, to gamblers who spend a significant amount of time or money at the casino.

In the United States, a casino is regulated by state law. The most common regulation is a requirement that the casino maintain a certain percentage of its gross profits. In addition, some casinos have security measures in place to protect patrons from cheating or stealing, either in collusion with other patrons or independently. These include security cameras and the presence of trained personnel.

Gambling almost certainly predates written history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found at archaeological sites. But the casino as a central locale where a variety of ways to gamble could be found did not develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe and Italian aristocrats held private parties at locations called ridotti [Source: Schwartz].

A modern casino usually is designed with brightly colored walls and floors that are meant to stimulate the senses. The use of red is especially effective, as it is thought to distract the eye and sway the mind into losing track of time. In the past, many casinos were run by gangsters, who used them as fronts for illegal activity. In recent years, real estate investors and hotel chains have bought out the mobs and established their own casinos without mob interference.