Casino is an establishment where gamblers can try their luck in games of chance and skill. The word is most commonly used to describe places that offer slot machines, table games and card games like blackjack. However, there are also some that include other forms of gambling such as bingo and lottery. The United States has many casinos and they are often located in major cities or on American Indian reservations.
Gambling in some form has existed for thousands of years, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in ancient archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. Modern casino gambling as we know it dates back to the 16th century, when the craze for gambling swept Europe. Smaller private clubs called ridotti flourished as people sought out a variety of ways to gamble under one roof.
The modern casino is a massive entertainment complex with restaurants, hotels and a full range of gambling activities. Some have fountains, towers and replicas of famous landmarks. Elaborate surveillance systems give a high-tech “eye in the sky” view of the entire casino floor with cameras that can be directed to a specific table, window or doorway from a room filled with banks of security monitors. Casinos profit from a built-in advantage that mathematically ensures that they will win a certain percentage of the money placed on their games, a figure known as the house edge or expected value.
Despite this built-in advantage, casino gambling is not without its risks. Because large sums of money change hands in a casino, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion with others or independently. To mitigate this risk, most casinos have high security measures.