A casino is a facility that offers various gambling games. The most popular are blackjack, poker, craps, roulette and slots. Casinos can also offer other types of entertainment such as musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers. While these amenities may attract people to a casino, it is the games that bring in most of the profits.
Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice found in archaeological sites. However, casinos as a gathering place for gamblers did not develop until the 16th century. During that time, European aristocrats often held private gambling parties at places called ridotti [Source: Schwartz].
Although a casino may have many amenities, it can be dangerous for patrons. Compulsive gamblers generate a disproportionate amount of profits for casinos, and research indicates that the casino industry contributes to higher unemployment rates and lower property values in the communities where it operates. Casinos may also be vulnerable to terrorism.
Due to the large amounts of money handled within a casino, both patrons and staff are tempted to cheat or steal. This is why most casinos employ a variety of security measures. These may include security cameras, electronic systems that monitor betting chips minute-by-minute and warn of any statistical deviation, and fully automated versions of table games. In addition, some casinos have trained croupiers to deal cards and oversee the tables. These employees may be paid more than the minimum wage.