What is a Casino?
A casino is a place where gambling takes place. Modern casinos often resemble indoor amusement parks with their wide variety of games and special attractions, but the vast majority of their revenue still comes from gambling. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and keno bring in billions of dollars each year.
The word casino is derived from the Latin casina, meaning “little house.” The first government-sanctioned gambling house was the Ridotto in Venice, which opened in 1638. The house took in a variety of primitive card games and high stakes wagers, and was the world’s first public gambling venue.
Casinos make money by offering games of chance to customers and taking a commission on winning bets, known as the vig or rake. Casinos also offer complimentary items to players, called comps. These are generally not as lucrative as the profits generated by the games themselves, but they can help offset losses.
Most casinos use some form of technology to monitor their patrons and the games themselves. Video cameras, for example, allow them to see what players are betting minute by minute and spot any unusual patterns. Computer systems can oversee the results of dice or roulette wheels to detect any statistical deviation from their expected values, and specialized systems can keep track of the exact amount each player is wagering. In addition, many casinos now have a separate department for security that uses physical force to patrol the premises and respond to calls for assistance or reports of suspicious or definite criminal activity.