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A casino (also known as a gambling house or a gaming establishment) is an establishment where people can gamble. Casinos offer a variety of gaming options, including table games like blackjack and roulette, as well as video poker and slot machines. Some casinos also offer live entertainment and restaurants. Many states have laws regulating the operation of casinos.

Most casino games involve a element of chance, but some allow for a degree of skill by the players. The house edge, a mathematical advantage that the casino has over the players, is built into the rules of most games. Casinos are licensed by governments to operate legally and are monitored by government agencies to ensure honesty and fairness. In the United States, casinos are usually located in cities with substantial populations of people who enjoy gambling. Some casinos are built on American Indian reservations and are not subject to state antigambling laws.

The history of casinos is closely tied to the development of modern society and civilization. Gambling in some form has been part of human culture for millennia, with evidence dating back to 2300 BC China. Dice were first used for wagering in 500 BC, and cards became popular around 1400 AD. The game that would become the centerpiece of most modern casinos, roulette, was invented in 1655 by the French mathematician Blaise Pascal as he sought to develop a perpetual motion machine.

Casinos have been an important source of entertainment for high rollers and other upscale clientele since the 19th century. These clients are typically well-heeled businesspeople and celebrities who travel in groups and stay in expensive hotel suites. They enjoy the excitement of the games and the opportunity to socialize with other wealthy individuals.

In the 21st century, casinos have expanded their operations to include online gambling and other forms of electronic entertainment. Some countries, such as Canada and Japan, have legalized online casinos. Others, such as the United Kingdom and the United States, have regulated casinos that accept players from all over the world.

In addition to traditional casino games, some casinos also feature Far Eastern games such as sic bo and fan-tan. Some offer games specific to regions, such as two-up in Australia, banca francesa in Portugal, boule in France, and kalooki in Britain. Some casinos are also involved in research and development of new games. These efforts are often conducted by specialist mathematicians and computer programmers who are known as gaming mathematicians and gaming analysts. These professionals are employed by a range of companies, including casinos and gaming software providers. They are also consulted by regulatory bodies, such as the American Gaming Association and the European Gaming and Betting Association. Casinos are also known for their opulent architecture, and some have become tourist attractions in their own right. The most famous casino in the world is probably the Bellagio in Las Vegas, which has featured in countless movies and TV shows and is renowned for its spectacular fountain show.