A casino is a gambling establishment where people play games of chance, and it may or not include other types of entertainment. Most casinos are based in cities that have legalized gambling. They often have a wide variety of gambling games, and they focus on providing a high level of customer service. Many casinos also offer a variety of incentives for their patrons, including comps.
Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in the oldest archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. But the modern casino as a place for people to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof didn’t appear until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. The fad caused many Italian nobles to hold parties in private venues known as ridotti, where they could enjoy a variety of gambling activities without worrying about the Inquisition.
These days, casinos are choosier about who they let in. They invest a lot of time, money and energy on security. They also focus on offering a large variety of games to attract players who are not comfortable with placing huge bets.
They know that their greatest potential source of income is from the “high rollers” who gamble in special rooms on tables with stakes that can exceed tens of thousands of dollars. To encourage big spenders, casinos offer them free hotel rooms, free show tickets and meals, reduced-fare transportation and limo service. These inducements are based on the amount of time and money a player spends gambling, which is known as their ‘vig’ or ‘rake’.