A casino, also known as a gambling house or gaming establishment, is an institution where people can gamble and play games of chance. Most casinos feature a wide variety of gambling options, including poker, baccarat, blackjack, roulette, craps, and more. Some casinos also offer live entertainment, such as concerts and stand-up comedy. In addition to gambling, casinos often serve as restaurants and retail stores. Casinos can be found all over the world, and are often combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shopping, and other tourist attractions.
The first recorded use of the term casino can be traced back to a 16th-century gambling craze that swept Europe. At the time, carved knuckle bones and dice were the simplest form of gambling, but a variety of games under one roof was not yet a reality. The idea of a casino as a place to find all types of gambling under one roof was probably first developed by Italian aristocrats who held private parties at places called ridotti. 
Gambling is a popular pastime for many people, and casinos are a perfect place to enjoy the action and excitement of games of chance. While some casinos specialize in certain types of games, others are well-rounded enough to cater to players of all skill levels and interests. Some even provide complimentary items to their best customers, called comps. These can include hotel rooms, dinners, show tickets, limo service, and even airline tickets.
Casinos have evolved into enormous entertainment complexes, featuring gorgeous decor and a mindblowing array of games. These mega-casinos are typically family-friendly, and often offer hotels, restaurants, non-gambling games, bars, swimming pools, spas, and other amenities that appeal to guests of all ages.
The United States is home to the largest number of casinos in the world, with over 1,000 gambling facilities spread across 40 states. These casinos have made a large contribution to the economies of cities such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City, and they are a major source of revenue for states that legalize them.
A few cities have a reputation as being primarily casinos, but the vast majority of casinos are located in small towns and rural areas throughout the country. Many of these casinos have a secluded location that adds to their charm and helps them maintain a low profile in the community. The Casino at Baden-Baden, for example, is situated in a historic spa town and offers a more intimate experience than a traditional gambling joint.
Many modern casinos have incorporated technology into their operations in an effort to stay competitive with other gambling establishments around the world. Using video cameras and computer systems, they can monitor the amount of money that is wagered minute-by-minute, and can quickly identify any statistical deviations that may signal cheating. Other innovations in modern casinos include chip tracking systems, where each bet is recorded electronically; and fully automated roulette wheels that allow players to place their bets by pushing buttons.