What is a Casino?
A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a wide range of games. Many of these games are based on chance, with some being purely skill-based. In addition to gambling, casinos also offer entertainment, such as music and shows. Many people travel the world to experience the luxury and excitement of these places. Some casinos are famous for their fountain displays and luxurious accommodations, while others are known for their glitzy game rooms and gambling offerings.
Gambling likely predates recorded history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice found in archaeological digs. But the casino as a place for a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century when a gambling craze swept Europe. Aristocrats in Italy formed private clubs called ridotti to indulge their passion for betting, and although technically illegal, the gambling houses were rarely bothered by local authorities [Source: Schwartz].
Most modern casinos feature a full range of table games, such as poker, blackjack, and roulette. Some have more exotic fare, such as sic bo, fan-tan, or pai gow. Asian casinos tend to emphasize traditional Far Eastern games, though they may also include two-up, banca francesa, boule, or kalooki.
While musical shows, lighted fountains, and shopping centers help draw visitors, casinos would not exist without the billions of dollars in profits derived from games of chance. The most popular of these games are slot machines, but craps, baccarat, and keno also generate substantial revenues for the casinos. Early casinos were often owned by organized crime figures, who had plenty of cash from drug dealing and extortion schemes, and did not mind gambling’s seamy image.