A casino is a gambling establishment that features a variety of games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette and craps provide the billions of dollars that casinos rake in every year in profits. There are also a number of other entertainment options, but the majority of a casino’s revenue comes from gaming.
Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in ancient archaeological sites. But the casino as a place for people to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze in Europe drove local authorities to close public gambling houses and encourage Italian aristocrats to hold private parties called ridotti [Source: Schwartz].
Today, most casinos offer all the standard table games like poker, blackjack, slots and roulette. They also feature a wide array of specialty betting opportunities like over/under wagers on the total points scored in a game or futures bets on outcomes that will occur in the future, such as who will win a league championship. Some casinos also offer live betting during events, allowing patrons to place bets while the event is happening.
Because gambling involves large amounts of money, cheating and theft are common in casinos. For this reason, casinos spend a lot of time and money on security measures. Cameras and other technological gadgets are common, but many casinos also have a human element to their security, with rules and procedures that discourage the types of behavior that might prompt someone to try to manipulate the system and take advantage of an unfair edge.