Whether they are massive resorts that include hotels, restaurants and non-gambling game rooms or small card rooms in quaint European villages, casinos attract and entertain millions of visitors each year. They make billions in profits for the companies, investors and Native American tribes that run them as well as for state and local governments that collect taxes on gambling winnings.

While casinos offer a variety of entertainment options like musical shows, shopping centers and hotel suites, they would not exist without games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, poker and other table games provide the billions in earnings that casino owners rake in each year.

Casinos are designed to entice people into wagering large sums of money by creating an environment that is exciting, loud and colorful. They are filled with blaring music, throngs of people and a huge array of gambling machines and tables. Drinks are freely served, and gambling-related stimulants like cigarettes are available to encourage patrons to gamble longer.

The casino concept originated in Italy, where gaming houses were called casin. In the United States, casino gambling was introduced in Atlantic City in 1978 and then spread throughout the country as Iowa passed laws allowing riverboat casinos on Indian reservations and other states amended their antigambling statutes to permit them. Casinos are also found on cruise ships, at racetracks as racinos and in many other locations.

Casinos operate on a business model that assures them of a certain level of gross profit, regardless of the outcome of any particular bet or game. To maximize their profit, they target big bettors and offer them extravagant inducements such as free spectacular entertainment, luxury accommodations and reduced-fare transportation. Security is another area of focus, with casino employees relying on routines and patterns to detect cheating or other suspicious behavior.