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A casino is a place where people go to gamble. It has a variety of games and is generally regulated by state law. It often offers free drinks and stage shows to draw in patrons. It can also offer other perks, like hotel rooms and transportation to and from the airport. This is a great way to get the most out of your gambling trip.

While casinos have a host of lavish extras to attract customers, they would not exist without gambling itself. Slot machines, blackjack, poker, roulette and other table games bring in the billions of dollars that the modern casino earns each year. Each of these games has a mathematical advantage for the house, or disadvantage, and the house takes a percentage of those bets, known as the vig or rake.

Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, but the concept of a dedicated gambling establishment did not develop until the 16th century. A gambling craze swept Europe at the time, and Italian aristocrats held private parties in venues called ridotti, where they could enjoy their favorite pastime without worrying about the Inquisition [Source: Schwartz].

In 2005, Harrah’s Entertainment found that the typical casino gambler was a forty-six-year-old female with above-average income. As household incomes decreased, participation in gambling dropped.