From the glitzy Las Vegas strip to the illegal pai gow parlors of New York City’s Chinatown, casinos offer a wide range of gambling opportunities for potential gamblers. But it’s not just about the games themselves; the best casinos also provide high-quality accommodations and entertainment options, making them a great place to stay and play for those willing to spend a bit more money on their gaming adventure.

Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in the earliest archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. But the modern casino as a place for people to find many different types of gambling activities under one roof did not develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. The Italian nobles favored a private clublike venue called a ridotto for their gambling parties, and they were not bothered by the fact that this was technically illegal [Source: Schwartz].

Although casino games can involve a degree of skill, the vast majority are based on chance. Some are conducted by a live croupier, such as blackjack and baccarat; others, like slot machines, are operated mechanically and generate random numbers. In the case of card games, the house makes a profit either by taking a percentage of every pot or by charging patrons an hourly fee, known as the rake. To maximize their profits, casinos hire mathematicians and computer programmers to analyze the games, determining the optimal strategy for each type of game.