A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a wide range of gaming options and live entertainment. It also features top-notch hotels, spas, restaurants and bars. Typically, casinos offer a variety of table games and slot machines as well as poker rooms. Some casinos are famous for their spectacular architecture and stage shows. The Bellagio in Las Vegas is one of the most famous casinos in the world, and it was featured in the movie Ocean’s 11.

Casinos make money by charging patrons for admission and offering free drinks, food and sometimes even cigarettes while they gamble. They also take a percentage of each bet, which is called the vig or rake. The vig gives the casino an advantage over the bettors, which is why it is so difficult for a gambler to beat the house.

Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in ancient archaeological sites. Throughout most of the nation’s history, however, gambling was illegal and it took a long time for it to become a legitimate business. After Nevada legalized gambling in 1931, the industry began to grow rapidly.

Casinos use a variety of tricks and traps to prevent cheating, theft and other problems. Security starts on the casino floor, where employees keep a close eye on the game action and players to catch any shady behavior. Dealers are particularly attentive to any suspicious betting patterns, and pit bosses watch over the table games with a wider view. Some casinos even have catwalks that allow surveillance personnel to look directly down, through one way glass, on the table and machine activities.