A casino is a place that offers a variety of gambling activities under one roof. Though gambling probably predates recorded history, the modern casino developed in the 16th century as part of a gambling craze in Europe. During that time, European aristocrats often held private parties called ridotti at their villas to play games such as baccarat and chemin de fer.
Casinos make money by charging a fee to patrons for their use of the facility. This fee is referred to as the vig or rake. A casino’s vig can be a small percentage of the total amount of money that is wagered, or it may be a large percent of the total gross revenues generated by the casino. Either way, the vig is what makes casinos profitable, and it gives them enough revenue to build elaborate hotels, fountains, towers and replicas of famous landmarks.
Something about casinos seems to encourage people to cheat and steal. That’s why most casinos spend a lot of money on security measures. Casinos hire special spies to keep an eye on their patrons, and they have high-tech surveillance systems that allow them to see every table, window and doorway. They even have catwalks in the ceiling that allow security personnel to look down directly on the action on tables and slot machines.
Casinos also reward their big bettors with free hotel rooms, shows, dinners and transportation. This is known as comping. The best players are rated by the casino and given perks based on their level of play. Ask a casino employee or someone at the information desk to find out how you can get your play rated.