Casino (also called a gaming house) is an establishment where people can gamble. Casinos are often built near or combined with hotels, restaurants and retail shops. In some countries, casinos are regulated by law. During the 1970s, Las Vegas casinos became famous for their discounted travel packages and free buffets to attract people to gamble. Today, many casinos offer luxury amenities and upscale dining. Some also host events such as concerts, shows and sporting events.
Despite all the glitz and glamour, the vast majority of casinos’ profits come from gambling. The billions of dollars raked in every year by casinos in the United States would not be possible without games such as blackjack, roulette, craps and slot machines.
While the precise history of gambling is unknown, it is known to have existed in almost all cultures. Among ancient civilizations, there are records of primitive dice games such as astragali and carved six-sided dice. The modern casino, however, did not emerge until the 16th century when a gambling craze swept Europe. Casinos were originally small clubhouses for Italian aristocrats where they could play various games of chance and drink alcohol in private.
All games have a built in advantage for the casino, which can be as low as two percent, but with millions of bets each day this slight edge earns casinos huge revenues. This profit is used for entertainment such as floor shows, lighted fountains and lavish hotels. Casinos have become more sophisticated in the 1990s and now regularly use technology to monitor and control game results. For instance, in “chip tracking,” betting chips with built-in microcircuitry interact with electronic systems that allow casinos to oversee the exact amounts wagered minute by minute and to quickly discover any statistical anomalies.