A casino is a public place where gambling activities take place. Although casinos offer many luxuries to attract players, such as free drinks, stage shows and dramatic scenery, the vast majority of their profits come from gambling: slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and more. The word casino is derived from the Latin for ‘house of games’. Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in ancient archaeological sites. But it was not until the 16th century that the idea of a casino emerged, as a place where people could find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof.

Today, most casinos are glitzy and extravagant places where you can spend hours at the slot machines or watching a live show. But they would not exist without the games of chance that provide billions in revenue every year. This article looks at how casinos make their money, some of the most popular games and how they are played, how casinos stay safe and what is the dark side of the business.

Security in a casino starts on the floor, where gaming employees keep an eye on patrons to make sure things go as they should. Dealers can be especially vigilant, observing patrons for signs of palming or marking cards or switching dice. But other staff members have a more expansive view of the casino, examining betting patterns and observing how patrons move around the tables. They can even use a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” system that lets them watch each table, change window and doorway.