A casino is a place to play a variety of games of chance. These include slots, roulette, blackjack, poker, craps, keno and more. Many casinos also offer a wide selection of food and beverage options. Some even feature a live performance venue where rock, jazz, pop and other musicians perform.
Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice found at some of the world’s oldest archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. However, the casino as we know it did not emerge until the 16th century during a gambling craze that spread across Europe. At the time, wealthy Italian aristocrats would meet at places known as ridotti to indulge in their favorite pastime. These privileged clubs were a perfect environment to socialize with fellow gamblers, drink wine and wager money on various games of chance.
The odds for each game in a casino are stacked in favor of the house. While the edge is relatively small (less than two percent) over the millions of bets placed each day, it adds up and makes casinos a profitable enterprise.
Beneath the bright lights, free cocktails and bling are casinos that are engineered to slowly drain their patrons of cash. Over the years, mathematically inclined minds have tried to turn the tables on this rigged system. Unfortunately, besides professional card counters, there is no way to beat the odds of a casino over the long run.