What Is a Casino?
A casino is a gambling establishment which provides games of chance to patrons. It also provides a variety of other entertainment activities. It may be combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shopping, and cruise ships. In some countries, casinos are licensed and regulated by gaming laws.
Gambling almost certainly predates history, with primitive protodice and carved knuckle bones found in archaeological digs, but the casino as an institution for a variety of games under one roof did not appear until the 16th century, during a gambling craze among European nobility that led to the creation of private parties called ridotti [Source: Schwartz]. Casinos, however, are much more lavish than their predecessors; they add stage shows, free drinks, dramatic scenery and other attractions to encourage people to gamble.
While most of the money in a casino comes from wagers, some casinos earn income by imposing a small fee on each bet placed, known as the house edge. This can be found in a variety of games, from the simple percentage advantage of roulette to the more complex expected value of poker.
Security is a major concern in casinos, especially when dealing with large amounts of money. Casinos employ a combination of physical security forces and specialized surveillance departments to ensure the safety of guests and workers. Security cameras are used for general surveillance and to spot suspicious or definite criminal activity, while casino employees on the floor watch for cheating (palming, marking, etc.) and betting patterns that might signal a scheme. In addition, modern casinos routinely monitor each game electronically; for instance, slot machines are wired to a central computer to reveal quickly any statistical deviation from the expected results.