A casino, or gaming house, is a building or room in which people gamble by playing games of chance or skill. Most casinos offer a wide variety of gambling games, and some even have special rooms for certain types of games, such as baccarat or craps. In the United States, over 40 states have legalized casinos.

The precise origin of gambling is unclear, but it is believed that it has existed in many societies throughout history. Casinos make money by taking a percentage of every bet, known as the house edge. This advantage can be small—less than two percent—but over time it adds up to significant profits. The profits have enabled some casinos to build elaborate hotels, fountains, pyramids, towers, and replicas of famous landmarks.

In the twenty-first century, casinos are choosier about their patrons and are more likely to give comps (free goods or services) to high rollers. These inducements can include free hotel rooms, meals, and tickets to shows. Some casinos may even give away limo service and airline tickets to their top players.

The typical casino gambler is a middle-class woman over forty, with an above-average income and plenty of leisure time. According to a 2005 study by Roper Reports GfK NOP and the U.S. Gaming Panel, most casino gamblers are not professional gamblers, and many do not have college degrees. In 2008, 24% of American adults had visited a casino.