What Is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment that offers games of chance. These include slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and more. Although a variety of entertainment is offered and some casinos offer shopping and hotel amenities, gambling is the primary source of profits for these places. The precise origin of gambling is unknown but it is believed to predate recorded history. Some primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice have been found in archaeological digs but the modern casino developed during the 16th century as a craze for gambling spread throughout Europe.

A modern casino usually has a physical security force that patrols and responds to requests for help or reports of suspicious or definite criminal activity. There is also a specialized surveillance department that operates the casino’s closed circuit television system, known in the industry as the “eye in the sky.” This sophisticated system allows security personnel to watch any table, window or doorway from a central location that can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons at any time.

While casinos offer a wide range of games, most of them have a built-in statistical advantage for the house that amounts to less than two percent of all bets. This edge, combined with the millions of bets placed by customers each day, provides the vast majority of profits for casinos. While musical shows, lighted fountains, lavish hotels and elaborate themes help draw in gamblers, the real money makers are slot machines and other popular games of chance.