A Casino is a public place where a wide variety of gambling games are offered and where gambling is the primary activity. In addition to offering several forms of gambling, most casinos also host world class entertainment and performances. Often, casinos are elaborately decorated with fountains, giant pyramids, towers and replicas of famous landmarks. Casinos make money by charging patrons a small percentage of their total bets (often called the vig) as a form of profit sharing.
Although the concept of a casino dates back to ancient times, the first modern casinos began to appear in Europe during the 16th century during a gambling craze. Initially, they were called ridotti and were private clubs where aristocrats met to play cards and other games in settings that were not subject to Italian antigambling laws [Source: Schwartz].
Casinos also make their money by taking a small portion of every slot machine payoff. These percentages can vary from one casino to the next, and some states have stricter rules for payback percentages than others. The casino advantage can be as low as two percent, but over time it can add up to a significant amount of money for the company.
Casinos also monitor their games for cheating by a variety of methods. For example, the way that cards are dealt and shuffled follows certain patterns that can be spotted by security personnel. Additionally, roulette wheels are inspected regularly for any deviation from their expected outcomes. In some cases, sophisticated surveillance technology is used to keep track of the games and players, such as chip tracking or video cameras that provide a high-tech “eye in the sky” view of the entire casino.