A casino is a place where a variety of games of chance are played, especially those that involve betting. Casinos provide a wide range of services and amenities to attract and keep gamblers. These include food, drinks and stage shows. Casinos are designed to maximize gross profit, so they have built in advantages in all of their games that make it very rare for patrons to win more than they spend. These advantages, known as the house edge, are calculated by a computer and are usually hidden from players.

In the modern world, casinos are designed to be visually appealing and fun, but they are also heavily regulated. Elaborate security systems monitor patrons and games to ensure fair play. These security measures include cameras in the ceiling that watch every table and window, and which can be adjusted to focus on specific suspicious patrons. Each table is also monitored by a pit boss or manager, who watches for blatant cheating like palming cards or switching dice. Casinos also have a high-tech “eye in the sky” that allows security personnel to see the entire casino at once, and track any movement or behavior that may be suspicious.

While gambling likely predates recorded history, the modern casino as a place where people can find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof didn’t develop until the 16th century. This was when a gaming craze swept Europe, and wealthy Italian aristocrats hosted private parties in their homes called ridotti. While the aristocrats enjoyed a safe and private place to gamble, these parties were technically illegal; however, the government was too busy inquiring into the activities of the mob to care.