Casino is a gaming establishment offering a variety of gambling activities. It offers table games, slot machines, poker rooms and live entertainment. Some casinos also offer luxurious hotels and restaurants. Casinos are popular with both high-rollers and casual players. They are often based in tourist destinations and attract visitors from all over the world.
While gambling certainly predates written history – primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice are found in archaeological sites – the modern casino did not emerge until the 16th century during the Renaissance’s great gambling craze. Italian aristocrats would gather in private places known as ridotti to gamble and socialize. Technically illegal, these venues thrived because of the absence of government interference.
Gambling is a major source of revenue for the government of Macau, which rakes in over $13 billion a year, even though it’s geographically three times smaller than Las Vegas. But many studies show that a casino’s net impact on the community is negative, due to lost productivity and the cost of treating compulsive gamblers.
Despite the negative economic impact, casinos are popping up everywhere. In the US, the first legal casino opened in Atlantic City in 1978, followed by New Jersey and then other states that amended their anti-gambling laws. In the 1980s, Native American reservations began opening their own casinos as well. Today, there are more than 3,000 casinos worldwide. Some are more famous than others, like the Bellagio in Las Vegas, which was made famous by the movie Ocean’s 11. It is known for its elegant décor and expansive selection of games. It is also home to some of the largest jackpots in the world.