A casino is a public place that offers a variety of games of chance and where gambling is the primary activity. In addition to a wide range of gaming tables, a typical casino has restaurants, free drinks and stage shows to attract patrons. Casinos can be found worldwide, in cities such as Las Vegas and Macau.

Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice being found at archaeological sites. But the casino as a place where people could find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe and Italian aristocrats would hold private parties called ridotti [Source: Schwartz].

Casinos make money by offering a small mathematical edge on every bet placed by a patron. This is known as the vig or rake, and it is what makes casinos profitable. To reduce the house edge, casino operators employ a number of security measures, from hiring armed guards to erecting elaborate surveillance systems that allow security workers to view a room filled with banks of monitors and to focus on specific suspicious patrons.

Casinos also enforce a set of rules to ensure that all players are treated fairly and that nobody cheats or steals. This includes making sure that cards are dealt face up, that dice are not stacked and that all bets are placed within the table limits. Casinos also prohibit players from using chips from other casinos and they require that players keep their hands visible at all times.