A casino is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. It is often associated with organized crime and has a seamy image. Nonetheless, casinos are a popular form of entertainment and attract billions in profits each year. They feature a wide variety of games including slots, roulette, blackjack, and baccarat, as well as tournaments and live betting on major sporting events. The games are monitored by trained security personnel. Many casinos also have a variety of amenities such as restaurants and bars.
Although gambling is believed to have predated recorded history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice found in ancient archaeological sites, the modern casino as a collection of gambling venues did not develop until the 16th century when a craze for baccarat, blackjack and other card games swept Europe. It was during this time that European aristocrats would hold private parties at gambling houses called ridotti [Source: Schwartz].
A casino is a place where the house always has an advantage over players, which is why they invest so much in security. In addition to trained security personnel, casinos also use technology to monitor the games themselves. For example, chips with built-in microcircuitry are used to track the amount of money placed on a game minute by minute. Casinos also monitor the results of roulette wheels and other games electronically to quickly detect any statistical deviation from expected values. Moreover, they are equipped with catwalks that allow security personnel to look directly down on the gaming tables and slot machines from above.