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A casino is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. It also has restaurants, shopping centers and other entertainment options. Most casinos are in cities that are known for their gambling, such as Las Vegas and Macao. There are even some in the United States that cater to tourists, such as Atlantic City and Detroit.

Although gambling probably predates recorded history, the modern concept of a casino as a gathering place for people to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century during a gambling craze in Italy. Earlier, Italian aristocrats would host parties in their private homes called ridotti to enjoy a variety of gambling activities with their friends and families. [Source: Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition. Copyright 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.]

In the United States, casinos began appearing in the 1980s, first on American Indian reservations where state antigambling laws did not apply. Then, in the 1990s, casino gambling expanded to Atlantic City and then to many other places around the country. Casinos are now found in all 50 states, and the most popular games are slots and table games.

Casinos are businesses that profit from a combination of luck and skill (or lack thereof). While music, lighted fountains and lavish hotels attract guests, casinos would not exist without the billions in profits they make each year from gamblers’ losing bets. Gambling is not entirely random: The house has a built-in advantage that can be mathematically determined, called the house edge.