A casino is a facility that houses and accommodates various types of gambling activities. It may also be combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping or cruise ships. Casino games include slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, craps, and poker. Most casinos offer these games with mathematically determined odds that give the house an edge over the players. The advantage is known as the house edge or the expected value. A casino’s profits are the difference between the house edge and the player’s winnings.
Historically, many casinos were run by organized crime groups, but as they evolved into entertainment destinations and the mob lost control of them, large business investors took over. These new owners introduced a variety of innovations, including bright and sometimes gaudy floor and wall coverings to stimulate players and cheer them up; a lack of clocks on casino walls is designed to make gamblers lose track of time; and the color red was chosen because it encourages gambling.
Gambling has existed in some form or another since prehistoric times, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in the most ancient archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. The modern casino is more like an indoor amusement park for adults, with food and drinks, stage shows and dramatic scenery. The word “casino” derives from the Italian for “small town,” and a casino’s name usually indicates its size. Today, casinos are increasingly technologically advanced; for example, chips with built-in microcircuitry interact with electronic systems to allow them to be monitored minute by minute to ensure that only the correct amount is wagered; and roulette wheels are electronically supervised to discover any statistical deviation from their expected results.