A casino is a place where people can gamble by playing various games of chance. The modern casino is like an indoor amusement park for adults, with the majority of the entertainment (and profits for the owner) coming from gambling. Casinos offer a variety of attractions, such as musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and lavish hotels, but they would not exist without the billions of dollars in profit raked in by slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and baccarat.
Though the precise origin of casino gambling is unknown, it almost certainly predates recorded history. Primitive protodice with carved six-sided designs have been found at ancient archaeological sites, but the casino as we know it did not emerge until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe and Italian aristocrats created their own private gambling houses, called ridotti. These resembled small country clubs, and were often situated in remote areas where they could avoid the prying eyes of local authorities.
Modern casinos make their money by taking a small percentage of every bet, or vig, as it is also known. This advantage can be less than two percent, but it adds up over the millions of bets placed by patrons. In addition to the vig, many casinos have other ways of making money, including food and beverage sales, hotel rooms and limo service.
Casinos are also known for their elaborate security measures, with cameras mounted in the ceiling to provide a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky.” Some casinos use technology to monitor the games themselves, as well. For example, some tables have betting chips with built-in microcircuitry that interacts with electronic systems to oversee the exact amounts wagered minute by minute; and some roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly to discover any statistical deviations from their expected outcomes.