A casino is a gambling establishment, where people gamble on games of chance or skill. In modern times, the casino is often an entertainment complex that features a variety of games and services such as restaurants, bars, shops, stage shows, and hotel rooms. In addition to gambling, casinos may also offer sports betting and horse racing. Casinos are a major source of income for many governments.

Modern casinos are often very large and elaborate, but they have always primarily functioned as places where gambling can be done. Even before the advent of legalized gambling, there were plenty of less extravagant places that housed gambling activities.

In the United States, casino gambling became common in Atlantic City and on American Indian reservations, which were not subject to state antigambling laws. In the 1980s, casinos began appearing in a number of other places, including some on riverboats.

Many casino patrons are compulsive gamblers, and while these players generate a significant percentage of casino profits, their addictive behavior can have negative economic impacts on local communities. For example, studies have shown that the money spent on treating gambling addictions can more than offset any economic benefits of a casino.

Casinos make money by charging a fee to play their games. This fee, which is known as the “house edge,” can be quite small (lower than two percent), but it adds up over time to produce a significant amount of revenue for the casino. Some casinos also collect a portion of the winnings from players, which is known as a rake.