A casino is a public place where games of chance are played. It may offer a variety of luxuries to attract customers, such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows. It may also feature a variety of gambling activities, including slot machines, roulette, craps and keno. Casinos earn their profits from the vigorish or rake, which is collected by the house in every game. This can be as low as two percent, depending on the rules of each particular game and how often a player bets.
While gambling certainly predates the modern casinos, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in archaeological sites, the casino as a central locale for multiple gambling activities did not develop until the 16th century. Prior to that, gambling was often conducted in private clubs for the elite, known as ridotti. These small gambling establishments were tolerated because they provided an alternative to other illegal activities.
Something about the casino environment seems to encourage cheating, stealing and scamming, either in collusion or by independent action. As a result, casinos spend an enormous amount of time, money and effort on security. Modern casinos are usually divided into a physical security force and a specialized department that oversees the closed circuit television system, which is called the eye-in-the-sky. This system can track a single patron in real time, allowing security workers to monitor suspicious behavior and catch criminals in the act. Security personnel can also monitor individual slots, which eliminates the need for human watchmen.