A casino is a gambling establishment where people can play a variety of games of chance. While modern casinos add a lot of fancy amenities like restaurants, musical shows and lighted fountains to draw in crowds, they would not exist without gambling games such as slot machines, roulette, blackjack, baccarat and craps. The profits from these games provide the billions of dollars in revenue that casinos rake in every year.
The precise history of gambling is unknown, but it is believed that games of chance have been around in some form for as long as humans have lived. The modern casino as we know it probably evolved in the 16th century when a gambling craze swept Europe and Italian aristocrats held parties in places called ridotti, where they could gamble on various games of chance.
As the popularity of these venues grew, legitimate businessmen were reluctant to invest in them due to their seamy image, so they relied on organized crime figures to provide bankrolls. The mobsters accepted this role, and often became personally involved in the management of some casinos and took sole or partial ownership of others. This practice continues to this day, and is one reason why the casinos of Las Vegas are so famous.
In addition to providing a fun way to spend money, some casinos also support responsible gambling initiatives. These casinos display appropriate signage and provide contact details for organizations that offer specialized support to problem gamblers. They also include a statutory requirement for responsible gambling as part of their licensing conditions.