A casino is a public place where games of chance are played and where gambling is the main activity. While casinos add a variety of amenities such as restaurants, musical shows and shopping centers to attract guests, they would not exist without the millions of dollars in profits that result from their games. In this article we’ll explore how casinos make money, the history of some popular games and how casinos stay safe.

Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice found in the most ancient archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. However, the idea of a place where people could find many different ways to gamble under one roof only emerged during the 16th century, when gambling crazes swept Europe. Italian aristocrats used to gather in private places called ridotti to indulge their passion for betting, and these small clubs were often not even bothered by legal authorities — thus giving rise to the modern definition of “casino.”

Because of the large amounts of cash handled within casinos, security is a major concern. Casino employees keep a close eye on patrons to spot any suspicious behavior such as cheating, collusion or stealing. In addition, many casinos employ gaming mathematicians to determine the house edge and variance of individual games.

The mob may have once run Las Vegas and Reno, but legitimate businessmen with deeper pockets bought out the mobsters and changed the face of casino gambling. Today, hotel chains and real estate investors own a good number of casinos. In addition to using state-of-the-art encryption technology, they also implement deposit limits and self-exclusion options to promote responsible gaming.