Whether you’re trying your luck on video slots, laying down some chips at a roulette wheel or throwing dice in a craps game, casinos are the best places to satisfy that gambling itch. But they also offer a wide variety of other amenities like great food, tasty drinks and live entertainment.
Gambling likely predates recorded history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice found in some of the oldest archaeological sites. But the casino as we know it, offering a range of ways to gamble under one roof, didn’t emerge until the 16th century in Italy, where wealthy aristocrats hosted private parties at establishments called ridotti. Legality was often a matter of personal discretion, as gambling houses were rarely raided by the Inquisition or other government authorities.
Casinos make money by charging players for the use of their facilities, in exchange for which they receive a percentage of all winning bets. Depending on the games, this can be as low as two percent, but over millions of bets, it adds up. For this reason, casinos spend a lot of time and money on security. On the floor, dealers and pit bosses keep an eye on patrons to spot blatant cheating such as palming cards or marking them; and table games are overseen by managers who check for betting patterns that signal cheating. In addition, most casinos have a high-tech surveillance system that monitors players and games minute by minute.