A casino (from Latin: ‘house of games’) is a gambling establishment that offers an array of gaming activities. The modern casino is a major source of revenue for many states and cities. In the United States, casinos are typically located in towns or cities with considerable tourist traffic, and they compete with one another for customers. Unlike other gambling establishments, casinos do not operate on luck alone; they also rely on skill and strategy to generate profits.
Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in some of the oldest archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. But the modern concept of a casino as an all-in-one venue for several forms of betting did not emerge until the 16th century. At that time, Italian aristocrats would hold private parties in their ‘ridotti’ (private clubs) for entertainment and gambling.
Because of the large amounts of money handled within a casino, patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. For this reason, casinos spend a lot of money on security measures. Many have video surveillance systems to monitor games and patrons; the cameras can spot a variety of suspicious activity, including palming, marking or switching cards or dice.
Casinos also employ high-tech methods to keep track of their profits. For example, in poker rooms with electronic chips, microcircuitry enables the casino to monitor the exact amount wagered minute by minute; this system is sometimes combined with a computerized betting system that can warn of anomalies.