A casino is a gambling establishment where customers can gamble on games of chance, in some cases with an element of skill. Its business model is based on the fact that it, and not its customers, will come out ahead in the long run. This is possible because every game has a built-in statistical advantage for the house, and this edge is known as the “house edge.” In most casino games, players are expected to lose money.
Modern casinos are large entertainment complexes with a variety of casino games, hotels, restaurants and non-gambling activities like swimming pools, bars and spas. They are designed to be appealing to the senses with their stunning size, beautiful decor and mindblowing number of games. Many of them are even featured in Hollywood movies.
While musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate hotel rooms draw the crowds, a casino would not exist without games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and keno provide the billions of dollars in profits that casinos rake in each year.
Although gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice being found in archeological sites, the casino as a place to find a multitude of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century. This was when a gambling craze swept Europe and wealthy Italian nobles started holding private parties in their homes, called ridotti, to enjoy the thrill of gaming [Source: Schwartz]. These venues were often affluent enough not to be bothered by authorities and so allowed their patrons to indulge in this activity.