A casino is a facility for gambling that usually includes a variety of table games. It may also offer a wide range of other forms of entertainment and dining. These establishments often employ highly trained security personnel to watch patrons. Elaborate surveillance systems provide a high-tech eye-in-the-sky view of the entire casino floor, and they can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons. In addition, the video feeds from these cameras can be recorded for later review in case of a theft or other criminal activity.
While gambling in some form almost certainly predates written history, the modern casino did not emerge until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. It was then that European aristocrats created private clubs known as ridotti where they could gamble in relative privacy.
Most games have a built-in statistical advantage for the casino, which is called the house edge. The exact amount of this advantage can vary depending on the game and the rules, but it is always lower than two percent. This slight profit guarantees the casino a certain level of gross revenue, which in turn allows it to pay out winnings to players and pay for things like elaborate hotels, fountains, giant pyramids and towers and replicas of famous landmarks.
In the United States, casinos began to appear in Atlantic City in 1978, and then expanded throughout America during the 1980s, especially on American Indian reservations where they were not subject to state antigambling statutes. Some states even amended their laws during this period to allow for casinos on riverboats. The most recent major expansion of the casino industry has come with the development of online gaming sites and the growth of Internet gambling in general.