A Casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games of chance and, in some cases, skill. It is these games that provide the billions of dollars in profits raked in every year by casinos. While the lavish themes, dazzling musical shows and lighted fountains may draw in the crowds, casinos would not exist without the chance element. Slot machines, roulette, craps, baccarat, blackjack and the like are the building blocks of the industry.
While the concept of casino gaming almost certainly predates recorded history (primitive dice known as astragali and carved six-sided dice can be found at most ancient archaeological sites), the word casino did not emerge until the 16th century when a gambling craze swept Europe and led to the formation of small private clubhouses for wealthy Italians called ridotti [Source: Schwartz].
Something about the atmosphere of a casino encourages people to try to cheat, steal or scam their way into a jackpot, which is why casinos spend a great deal of time, effort and money on security. Security starts on the casino floor, where dealers keep their eyes on their game and patrons to make sure there is no palming, marking or other suspicious activity. Casinos also have catwalks in the ceiling that allow surveillance personnel to look directly down, through one-way glass, on casino activities from above.
To help keep players happy and on the casino floor, most casinos offer free food and drinks. This helps keep gamblers fed and intoxicated, which reduces their concerns about the money they are losing and increases their chances of winning. The use of chips instead of actual money helps to reduce these concerns even further, since the chips aren’t a physical representation of real money.