A casino is a place where gambling games are played. Although casinos often add a number of extras to attract players, including restaurants, free drinks and stage shows, they can be defined simply as public places where gambling is permitted.
Gambling has existed in almost every society throughout recorded history, from primitive protodice carved from knuckle bones and dice that roll when thrown to the modern video poker machines and blackjack tables of casino resorts worldwide. While the exact origins of casino are unclear, it is believed that they first evolved in the 16th century when a gambling craze swept Europe and wealthy Italian aristocrats created private clubhouses known as ridotti. These were usually four-story gambling houses with various rooms for primitive card and dice games, as well as a variety of food and drink options to keep players happy and distracted from their losses.
Casinos make money by charging bettors a fee for the opportunity to play gambling games. This fee is called the vig or rake and can be a small percentage of each bet placed. This money, combined with the millions of bets made by casino patrons over time, can give a casino enough revenue to build elaborate hotels, fountains and replicas of famous pyramids and towers.
The word casino is thought to come from the Italian word for little house, but it has also been used in Latin for villa and summer house. Casinos in Canada have a long history of welcoming gamblers from across the country and around the world. Some are located in picturesque natural areas, while others are housed in sophisticated urban destinations surrounded by shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities.