A casino is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. Its customers gamble by playing a variety of games that involve some degree of skill (such as blackjack and video poker). The house always has an advantage over the players, known as the house edge. The house advantage can be very small, but it adds up to millions of dollars in profits every year. These profits help casinos pay for the hotels, fountains and replicas of famous landmarks that decorate them.
Gambling has been around for a long time. Primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice have been found in ancient archaeological sites, but the modern casino as we know it didn’t really come into existence until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. Rich Italian aristocrats held private parties in places called ridotti to indulge their passion for gambling. These gatherings were usually illegal, but the aristocrats didn’t seem to care.
Modern casinos have a very high emphasis on security. Guests are closely monitored by a security staff, and a specialized department runs the casino’s closed-circuit television system. This eye-in-the-sky allows security workers to watch every table, window and doorway and can be adjusted to focus on specific patrons if suspicious behavior is detected.
A casino’s security also depends on the patterns of its games. Observing the shuffles of cards, the location of betting spots on a table and the expected reactions and motions of gamblers can help spot deviations from the norm that could indicate cheating.