A Casino is a facility that houses gambling activities. Although there are many variants, the most common feature of a casino is a gambling floor with games of chance. These include poker, baccarat, roulette, blackjack and craps. Casinos may also feature stage shows and dramatic scenery. Many casinos offer special inducements to big bettors, such as free spectacular entertainment, luxury living quarters, transportation and reduced-fare hotel rooms.
Something about the presence of large amounts of money encourages both patrons and staff to cheat and steal, either in collusion or independently. That is why casinos spend a great deal of time and effort on security measures. Elaborate surveillance systems provide a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” that allows security personnel to monitor every table, window and doorway at once. Roulette wheels and other game components are electronically monitored to discover any statistical deviations from their expected results, which would be immediately apparent to the security personnel.
Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in some of the oldest archaeological sites. But the casino as a place where people could find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe and Italian nobles held private parties at facilities called ridotti. (The word is derived from the Latin for a small clubhouse.) The concept spread to other countries, and casino-like facilities were soon established throughout the world.