A casino is a large building in which games of chance are played and gambling is the main activity. It features various forms of gambling, such as blackjack and roulette, but also provides non-gambling entertainment like shows and shopping centers. A casino can be located in a small town or it can be a massive facility such as the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut. Modern casinos are often designed to be beautiful on the inside and outside and feature lavish hotels, restaurants, non-gambling games and other amenities. They may have many employees to assist gamblers, and security is a huge part of their business.

Gambling is a part of human culture, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in archaeological sites around the world [Source: Schwartz]. But the casino as a place where a variety of ways to gamble can be found under one roof didn’t appear until the 16th century, when a gambling craze took hold in Europe. At that time, aristocrats frequently held private parties at places called ridotti (plural of ridotto), where they could gamble with other members of their class.

Casinos make money by taking a percentage of the money lost by customers. This is usually less than two percent for casino games such as baccarat, chemin de fer and roulette. It’s higher for blackjack, poker and other games where players compete against each other; in those cases the house takes a commission known as the rake. Modern casinos employ a physical security force to patrol the premises and respond to reports of suspicious or definite criminal activity. They also employ a specialized department that runs the casino’s closed circuit television system, known as the eye in the sky.