Casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games of chance and skill. These include poker, craps and blackjack. Most casinos also feature restaurants, stage shows and dramatic scenery. Casinos are built in a wide range of shapes and sizes, from small card rooms to large resorts. Some even operate on boats and barges. Casinos also spend a lot of money on security, with elaborate systems that give the facility an “eye-in-the-sky” capability. These cameras can be adjusted to focus on specific patrons or groups of people, and are monitored by a separate room filled with banks of monitors.
Although gambling predates written history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found at the earliest archaeological sites, the modern casino as a place where a multitude of ways to gamble under one roof first developed in the 16th century, during a great gambling craze in Europe. In Italy, wealthy aristocrats created clubs known as ridotti where they could gamble in privacy and without the risk of detection by the Italian Inquisition.
Most casinos earn a profit by taking a percentage of bets, which is called the house edge or vig. The house edge is usually less than two percent, but it adds up over the millions of bets made each year by casino customers. In games such as poker that pit players against each other, the house also takes a cut of each pot, which is known as the rake.