A casino is a building or room in which people can gamble by placing cash or other items of value on games of chance. Most casinos also offer restaurants, bars, and shops. Some are old and beautiful, while others are modern glass-and-steel temples to overindulgence.
Casinos make money by taking a percentage of the total amount of bets placed. A small part of this is from the games themselves, but most comes from betting fees, or vigorish, paid to the house by winning players. The vigorish is often the largest source of income for card games, such as blackjack. Casinos also earn money from table games like baccarat, chemin de fer, and trente et quarante, where the casino takes a fixed fee from each pot.
Because of the large amounts of money handled within a casino, both patrons and employees may be tempted to cheat or steal. Casinos use a variety of security measures to prevent this. These include cameras located throughout the facility, and more elaborate systems that monitor every aspect of the games themselves. For example, “chip tracking” systems allow a casino to monitor each chip’s movements minute by minute, and to notice any statistical deviation; roulette wheels are electronically monitored to discover any imbalances.
The word casino derives from the Italian casina, meaning “small townhouse”. The first modern casino was built in 1863 in Monte Carlo, Monaco. It was originally a public hall for music and dancing, but was converted to a gambling establishment in the second half of the 19th century.