A casino is a building where people can gamble and play games of chance. Its earliest incarnations date back to ancient Mesopotamia, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice discovered in archaeological digs. The modern casino evolved as mobster influence faded and hotel chains, real estate investors and other businesses with deep pockets realized they could make money from gambling. Casinos offer entertainment, shopping and fine dining in addition to the traditional games of chance. They generate billions in revenue for their owners and finance extravagant hotels, lighted fountains and replicas of famous towers and pyramids. Casinos employ a large staff to manage the business and provide security.
The most common games in a casino are slots, blackjack, roulette and craps. All have a built in advantage for the casino, usually no more than two percent. This small profit, multiplied by millions of bets, allows casinos to attract huge numbers of people, and pay for the dazzling hotels, restaurants and attractions that give them their reputation as luxury destinations.
Most casinos also have a full complement of table games, including poker, which is popular in the United States and hosts the World Series of Poker every year. The biggest casinos in Las Vegas feature thousands of slot machines and hundreds of tables. Some have dedicated rooms for high rollers and VIP customers. A few casinos specialize in Far Eastern games such as sic bo, fan-tan and pai gow.