Casino is a facility that houses gambling activities, usually games of chance. Some casinos have a lavish atmosphere that includes restaurants, free drinks and stage shows. Others are more modest, with table games such as blackjack, roulette, craps and baccarat. A casino may also include other games of chance or skill, such as keno or bingo.
Casinos have a seamy reputation due to the association of gambling with organized crime and illegal racketeering. They also face accusations of being addictive and causing problems for their patrons. In some cases, the net effect of a casino on a community is negative, as it can lead to lost productivity and increased health costs for gambling addicts.
Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in archaeological sites, but the idea of a central gambling facility with a variety of different games did not appear until the 16th century. A casino as we know it today evolved in Italy, where wealthy aristocrats would hold private parties at clubs known as ridotti to satisfy their gambling cravings [Source: Schwartz].
Modern casinos have extensive security measures in place to prevent cheating and theft. These include cameras that watch every table, change windows and doorway, and can be focused on suspicious patrons by security workers in a room filled with banks of monitors. In addition to cameras, casino security staff monitors the actions of players and the routines of the games they play.