Casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. These casinos are usually combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shopping and cruise ships. In military and civilian use, the term casino may refer to a room or barracks where people gather for gambling or other entertainment.
The precise history of gambling is not known, but it is believed that games involving chance have existed since ancient times. Primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice have been found at the most ancient archaeological sites. The modern casino developed in the 16th century during a gambling craze that swept Europe. Casinos were originally small private clubs for Italian aristocrats, called ridotti, where they could enjoy a variety of gambling activities in one place. Many of the most popular casino games were invented in these clubs.
Modern casinos are heavily regulated, and most have separate physical security forces and specialized surveillance departments. Surveillance cameras are used to monitor the casino floor and its patrons; electronic systems in table games track betting chips minute by minute and can detect any statistical deviations from expected results; and roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly to discover any suspicious patterns.
Because a casino accepts only bets within an established limit, it is mathematically impossible for a patron to lose more than the casino can afford to pay. This virtual assurance of gross profit is why large bettors are often rewarded with comps such as free hotel rooms, meals and tickets to shows.