A casino is a place where people gamble by playing games of chance and skill. It is also an entertainment venue with a variety of attractions and amenities that appeal to the broadest range of patrons. A casino is a business, and like any other commercial enterprise it seeks to maximize its profits and minimize its expenses. It does this by imposing built in mathematical advantages on its customers (known as the house edge).
Casinos may be lavish affairs, with lighted fountains, musical shows, shopping centers and luxurious accommodations. However, the bulk of their revenue – billions of dollars each year – comes from gambling. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and baccarat are the primary sources of profit for casinos. These games generally offer some degree of skill, but the vast majority of a player’s money is lost to the house.
Gambling likely predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found at some of the world’s oldest archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. The modern casino evolved in the 16th century during a gambling craze that saw European aristocrats gather in private gaming rooms called ridotti to indulge their passion for risk.
With so much money changing hands, casinos must be vigilant to prevent cheating and stealing by either patrons or staff. They achieve this by implementing strict security measures including cameras that monitor every table, window and doorway. In addition, the patterns and routines of a game make it easier for security to spot any deviations from protocol.