The word casino is derived from a Latin word meaning “to place a bet.” The modern casino has many things going on inside, but the main attractions are the games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and other games of chance draw in the billions in profits that fuel the casino industry.
Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved knuckle bones found in archaeological sites. But the modern concept of a place where gamblers could find a wide range of casino games under one roof did not emerge until the 16th century when Italian aristocrats met in private clubs called ridotti to play dice and other games of chance.
Today casinos are multi-use facilities combining gaming facilities with restaurants, shopping centers and performance venues where pop, rock, jazz and other artists perform for the crowds. Some casinos even have a hotel attached. The casinos themselves are decorated in bright colors like red and yellow to stimulate and cheer players. Red is especially popular as it is thought to distract gamblers from losing track of time; this explains why there are no clocks on casino walls. Casinos also give away free goods and services to some gamblers, called comps, which are based on their playing habits and the amounts they spend at the tables and slots.
Casino patrons are generally considered to be wealthy people who have enough money to afford to lose it. In fact, in 2005, the average casino gambler was a forty-six-year-old woman from a household with an above-average income. That’s a lot of money to be lost, so security is a big concern for casino owners. Casino employees keep their eyes on the gamblers, watching for any signs of cheating or stealing and keeping tabs on how much money their tables are winning or losing.