A Casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. It may be combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and other tourist attractions. Some casinos are operated by governments, while others are private enterprises. The word casino can also refer to the game of casino gambling itself, a card or table game with an element of chance and skill. The precise origin of casino is uncertain, but it probably grew out of gambling crazes that swept Europe in the 16th century. Some aristocrats used private gaming houses called ridotti to hold social gatherings while gambling, and these became the precursors of modern casinos.
Modern casinos typically employ a combination of physical security and specialized surveillance departments to monitor patrons, dealers, and games. These departments work together to spot suspicious or criminal activity. Almost all casinos use closed circuit television to monitor their floors, and they are usually wired with sensors that alert security when statistical deviations from the expected results occur. Some casinos also have special software that can detect patterns of behavior that indicate cheating.
Most casino games have a mathematical advantage built into them that ensures that the house will win at least some bets. This advantage, which can be less than two percent, is what makes casinos profitable. Because of this virtual assurance of gross profit, it is relatively common for a casino to offer its high-volume customers extravagant inducements, including free hotel rooms, meals, tickets to shows, and reduced-fare transportation.