A casino (or gambling house) is a place where people play gambling games. Although casinos add a wide variety of other entertainment such as restaurants, stage shows and theme parks to draw in visitors, the majority of a casino’s profits come from the gambling machines and table games like blackjack, roulette and craps. The casinos advantage over the player is usually less than two percent, but that small edge is what allows them to build lavish hotels, fountains and replicas of famous landmarks.
Modern casinos are heavily invested in technology, especially security. They use cameras that keep a constant eye on every table, window and doorway, and can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons. Computer chips in slot machines let the casino monitor the payouts minute by minute, and can alert employees if a game appears to be malfunctioning.
Casinos are also choosy about the players they allow on their premises. They want high rollers who will spend large sums of money, often on a regular basis. In return, these players are rewarded with comps, or free goods and services. These can include meals, rooms, show tickets, limo service and airline travel.
Although gambling may predate recorded history with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in ancient archaeological sites, the modern casino as we know it didn’t evolve until the 16th century when a gambling craze swept Europe. At that time, European nobles would gather at their “ridotti,” or private parties, to play the games they enjoyed.