A casino is a facility where gambling activities take place. While gambling probably existed in primitive forms as far back as recorded history, the casino as a gathering place for various forms of gambling did not emerge until the 16th century with a gambling craze in Europe that included “ridotti” where aristocrats would hold private parties and play games such as baccarat (in its popular British variant, chemin de fer), blackjack, and trente et quarante.
Casinos have a variety of security measures in place to ensure the safety of patrons and property. For example, some have video cameras that monitor the activities of all players; in addition, roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly to discover any statistical deviations from expected results. Most casinos also have rules of conduct for players and enforce them through security personnel.
Many casino patrons are given complimentary items or services, known as comps, for their play. These may include free hotel rooms, dinners, show tickets or limo service. The amount of money spent on casino games determines a player’s status as a good or bad spender; high rollers are rewarded with free items while low-spending players receive only tokens. Ask a casino host or information desk for details.
Casinos are an integral part of the gaming industry and have become a major economic force in some cities. However, they have also caused problems in other areas, including raising the incidence of problem gambling and lowering property values in surrounding neighborhoods. In addition, the large amount of cash passing through a casino has led to concerns about money laundering and terrorist financing.