A casino is a public place where games of chance are played. Its customers gamble by placing chips (or other items of value) on various tables or slots and the house takes a percentage of their winnings. Some casinos also offer non-gambling entertainment such as floor shows and restaurants.

Casino gambling has a long history. It probably began as early as the 16th century, when a craze for dice-based games like astragali and carved six-sided dice were popular in Europe. However, a true casino as a central venue for multiple types of gambling did not appear until the 20th century, when casino owners realized they could attract gamblers by offering them more than just table games.

In addition to the standard games of chance, many casinos offer more complex games with an element of skill such as blackjack, poker, and baccarat. These games are often referred to as casino card games, but are distinguished from regular card games like bridge and pinochle by the fact that the cards are dealt by a professional dealer rather than by players.

Gambling is a highly social activity, and casinos are designed around noise, light, and excitement to encourage players. A variety of other incentives are also offered to keep patrons playing, such as free drinks and all-you-can-eat buffets. In the modern age, some casinos focus their efforts on high rollers and other large gamblers, who are often given a separate room to gamble in, free food and drinks, and other perks.