The Casino


The casino (from the Italian kasino) is a public place where a wide variety of games of chance can be played and gambling activities are the primary activity. The modern casino adds luxuries like theaters, restaurants, free drinks and stage shows to draw in patrons, but the vast majority of the money made by casinos is the result of gambling activities. It is possible to gamble without entering a casino, but the most lucrative and popular games are those that involve skill and chance (cards, dice and table games).

Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved knuckle bones found in archaeological digs, but the casino as an organized center of multiple gaming options did not develop until the 16th century. The Ridotto, a four-story gambling house in Venice, is generally considered to be the first government-sanctioned casino and the first to offer high stakes. [Source: Schwartz]

Because of the huge amounts of money involved, casinos often employ security measures to prevent cheating and theft. These may include cameras, security personnel and rules of conduct for players. Casinos also invest considerable time and money on mathematical analysis to determine the expected profit of their various games, a field of study known as gaming math and game theory.

Among the most popular games of chance in casinos are blackjack, roulette and craps. In some European countries, these games are regulated by law to ensure the accuracy of the results; in others they are rigged to allow only a very small advantage for the house.