A casino is a facility where gamblers place bets on games of chance. Most casinos offer a wide variety of gambling games, but some are more specialized than others. For example, Asian casinos often feature traditional Far Eastern games such as sic bo (which became popular in several European and American casinos during the 1990s), fan-tan, baccarat, and pai gow poker. Typically, these games are played on special tables that have been set aside for them.
Although gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, the casino as a place where people can find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not emerge until the 16th century when a gambling craze swept Europe and Italian aristocrats started holding private parties at clubs known as ridotti [Source: Schwartz]. In the modern sense of the word, a casino is a public gaming establishment licensed by a government or by an organization that regulates the gambling industry.
Most casinos have security measures in place to prevent cheating or theft by patrons and staff. These may include physical security forces and a specialized surveillance department. Most casinos also use a high-tech “eye in the sky” system where cameras are wired to monitor every table, window and doorway. Security personnel can adjust the cameras to focus on suspicious patrons if they think something is wrong. In addition, casinos often give away free goods and services to their best customers, such as comped hotel rooms, food, drinks, show tickets, and even limo service and airline tickets.