A casino is a place where people can gamble at a variety of games. Casinos often add other luxuries to attract players, such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows. But even less elaborate places that house gambling activities can be called casinos.
The word casino most likely originated in the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. Before that, most gambling took place in private clubs known as ridotti, where aristocrats would gather to gamble and socialize [Source: Schwartz].
Gambling games that can be found in casinos include baccarat (in its French variant, chemin de fer), blackjack, poker and roulette. In addition to these games, some casinos also offer far eastern games such as sic bo, fan-tan and pai gow. Some even have bowling alleys and a racetrack.
Casinos earn money by charging a fee to gamblers who use chips instead of real money. This is known as the house edge, and it makes casinos profitable over the long term. Casinos may also charge a rake to poker players or take a percentage of winnings on slot machines.
Casinos provide a wide variety of jobs, from security guards to dealers and floor managers. Some of these jobs require close attention to detail, like spotting blatant cheating (palming cards or marking dice). Others require a larger view of the casino floor and its patrons. For example, pit bosses watch over table games and can detect betting patterns that suggest cheating. These views are sometimes augmented with video surveillance systems.