A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games of chance. Though glitzy shows, lighted fountains and extravagant hotels help draw patrons, the bulk of casino profits come from games such as slots, blackjack, poker, roulette and craps. Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in many ancient archaeological sites. But the modern casino as a place where visitors could find a variety of games under one roof didn’t develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe and Italian nobles held private parties called ridotti that functioned much like modern casinos [source: Schwartz].
Because of the large amount of money handled within a casino, patrons and employees are often tempted to cheat or steal. To counter this, casinos employ a number of security measures. Among these are specialized departments that patrol the floor and respond to calls for assistance and reports of suspicious or definite criminal activity. Video cameras monitor tables to make sure that gamblers are not palming, marking or switching cards and a computerized system oversees roulette wheels to detect any deviations from expected results.
As a bonus to players, some casinos offer free goods and services to big spenders, known as comps. These can include hotel rooms, dinners and show tickets. Some casinos even offer limo service and airline tickets to top spending players. While this helps attract and keep customers, it can be a huge drain on the local economy.