What is a Casino?
A casino is a public place where a variety of games of chance can be played. While gambling certainly predates recorded history – primitive proto-dice and carved six-sided dice have been found in archaeological sites – the casino as a central hub for multiple forms of gambling did not develop until the 16th century, during a European craze that swept Italy and led to private gambling parties called ridotti. These were often tucked away in the homes of wealthy Italian aristocracy, so they escaped the attention of legal authorities.
While casinos offer a wide range of gambling games, they make money by taking advantage of the fact that none of these games are completely fair. Every game has a built in statistical advantage for the house, which varies from game to game but averages out to less than two percent of bets. Over time, this edge adds up to enough money for casinos to build elaborate hotels and other extravagant attractions.
Modern casinos have a number of security measures in place to protect their patrons from cheating and other unethical activities. In addition to cameras, many casinos have tables with electronic systems that monitor betting chips minute-by-minute and alert dealers of any statistical deviations. Casinos also use patterns and routines to spot suspicious behavior – the way dealers shuffle and deal cards, for instance, follow certain rhythms that are easy for trained eyes to recognize.