Casinos are a popular source of entertainment and generate billions in profits for their owners every year. While a casino may have extravagant amenities like restaurants, free drinks and stage shows to lure in visitors, its true profitability stems from gambling activities.
While gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, the modern casino as a place for patrons to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof didn’t develop until the 16th century. While primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice have been found in ancient archaeological sites, the concept of a single facility that houses multiple games of chance did not emerge until the emergence of the European aristocracy, who would hold private parties called ridotti that were strictly for gambling and socializing [Source: American Gaming Association].
Even though casinos feature many exciting and popular casino games, they cannot be considered “fair” to their patrons as every game has a built in advantage for the house. This advantage can be very small, less than two percent in some cases, but it adds up over time and millions of bets. The edge earned by the casino is known as the vig or rake.
The large amounts of money handled in casinos can create an environment where patrons or staff may be tempted to cheat or steal. For this reason, casinos spend a lot of time and money on security measures. For example, most casinos have security cameras located throughout the facility, and pit bosses and table managers watch over games of chance with a broader perspective than the dealers, looking for things like obscene betting patterns or the switching of cards or dice.