A casino is a place where people can gamble. It usually has a variety of games and is designed around noise, light, and excitement. It may also have stage shows and dramatic scenery. Gambling probably occurred in some form as early as recorded history, with primitive protodice, carved knuckle bones, and even Roman coins found at archaeological sites. But a casino as an institution to house a wide range of gambling activities probably did not emerge until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe and Italian nobles gathered in private clubs called ridotti to play a number of different games of chance.
In modern times, casinos concentrate their investments on the “high rollers” who are willing to put up large bets for long periods of time and are rewarded with comps (free goods or services) worth thousands of dollars. They monitor players through a network of cameras placed throughout the casino floor. Security personnel watch the video feeds in a room filled with banks of security monitors and can adjust them to focus on suspicious patrons.
To encourage frequent gambling, a casino might offer a player card that is swiped electronically before each game and which records the amount of money spent on the machines. The casino then tallys up the points and gives the cardholder coupons for free or discounted food, drinks, hotel rooms, show tickets, or even airline tickets. The casino might also offer a live gaming experience that features real dealers and other players.