A casino is a gambling establishment, offering various games of chance. It may also offer restaurants, bars and other non-gambling entertainment. Casinos make billions in profits each year, mainly from slot machines, black jack, roulette, craps and keno. Unlike many other casino games, these machines are programmed to return a certain percentage of the money that they receive as bets. Casinos employ a wide variety of security measures to prevent cheating and fraud. These range from cameras in the ceiling that watch every table, light, window and doorway to a separate room filled with banks of video monitors where security workers can quickly adjust their view and focus on suspicious patrons.
Gambling in some form almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found at some archaeological sites. However, the modern casino as a place for people to find a variety of gambling games under one roof did not emerge until the 16th century when a gaming craze swept Europe and Italian aristocrats held private parties in facilities called ridotti (roughly translated as “houses”).
While some casinos add luxuries such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows to attract players, their ultimate appeal is still the games of chance. The most popular are probably slot machines, in which a player puts in money and then watches varying bands of colored shapes roll past on reels (physical or video). When a winning combination appears, the machine pays out a preset amount of money.