What Is a Casino?
A casino, also called a gambling house or a gaming establishment, is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Some casinos are standalone buildings, while others are built within hotels, restaurants, retail shopping centers, or cruise ships. Regardless of where they are located, all casinos offer the same basic gambling services: a place to gamble and a variety of games to choose from.
A few of the more popular games at casinos are roulette, craps, and blackjack. These games are considered to be games of chance, although some have an element of skill. The odds in these games are set by mathematical formulas, ensuring that the house always has an advantage over the players (this is known as the house edge).
Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found at archaeological sites. But the modern casino, with a variety of ways to wager under one roof, was invented in Italy in the 16th century during a gambling craze that spread throughout Europe. These private clubs, known as ridotti, allowed Italian nobles to enjoy gambling and socializing without the risk of persecution by the Inquisition.
Something about the presence of large sums of money encourages people to cheat or steal, either in collusion with other patrons or on their own; for this reason, most casinos employ security measures. The most visible element of this is a staff of employees who watch over the tables and slot machines, looking for blatant cheating techniques like palming or marking cards. In addition, some casinos have catwalks in the ceiling that allow security personnel to look down on patrons through one-way glass.