A casino is a building or room where people can gamble. It may also refer to a collection of such buildings. A casino is not just a place for gambling; it provides a variety of entertainment, including stage shows, restaurants and bars. In addition, a casino can offer services such as e-wallets and ATMs.

Casinos typically provide free food and drinks to patrons, although this is not necessarily a large part of their revenue. They also entice players by offering them chips that do not look like real money and thus reduce their concerns about losing cash. Moreover, casinos are often located in tourist destinations where people may be unfamiliar with the concept of gambling.

While gambling certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice appearing in the earliest archaeological sites, the modern casino as an institution for betting on chance did not emerge until the 16th century when a gambling craze spread throughout Europe. In that period, wealthy Italian aristocrats often held private parties in rooms called ridotti to enjoy games of chance and other entertainment.

Casinos are a major source of revenue in many cities and states, especially those that allow legal gambling. However, critics point out that compulsive gambling can cause substantial losses for local communities by diverting spending from other forms of entertainment and reducing economic productivity. Furthermore, the expense of treating problem gambling can reverse any gains that a casino might bring in the short term.