A casino is a place where people can gamble on various games of chance, such as poker, craps, baccarat and roulette. In some countries, casinos are legally licensed to operate and have the status of a public corporation. They can also offer a variety of entertainment options, such as concerts and shows.
Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice found in archaeological digs. But the casino as a place to find all forms of gambling under one roof did not develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. Aristocrats gathered in private gaming rooms, known as ridotti, to try their luck. These establishments were often illegal, but the mob seldom interfered with them.
In modern times, most casinos are commercial enterprises operated by public or private corporations. Some are owned by local governments, while others are franchises of national or international companies. In either case, they must meet stringent government regulations and are subject to regular inspections. Because of the large amounts of money handled within a casino, both patrons and employees may be tempted to cheat or steal. To prevent this, most casinos use cameras and other security measures to monitor activities.
Some casinos reward their most frequent players with free goods and services, called comps. These can include free hotel rooms, restaurant meals and tickets to shows. Some casinos even give limo service and airline tickets to their most valued customers.