A casino is a gambling establishment where people play various games of chance for entertainment and the chance to win money. Gambling itself dates back to prehistoric times, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice appearing in ancient archaeological sites. The casino as we know it developed in the 16th century, with Italian aristocrats hosting private parties at venues called ridotti [Source: Schwartz]. The closure of large public gambling houses pushed gambling into these small rooms, which became known as casinos.

Today’s casinos offer many different games to suit the interests of all kinds of people. Some casinos are located in picturesque settings and cater to high rollers, while others are geared towards budget-conscious vacationers. Casinos also place a strong emphasis on customer service, offering complimentary items to attract and reward loyal patrons.

There are a number of ways that casinos prevent cheating. Security personnel keep a close eye on the game action, watching for blatant palming and marking of cards, and switching of chips. Other security methods include the use of catwalks that allow surveillance officers to look down, through one-way glass, on players at table games and slot machines.

While the most famous casino in the world is probably the Bellagio in Las Vegas, there are many other beautiful casinos around the world. The elegant spa town of Baden-Baden, Germany, for example, has long been a popular gambling destination for European royalty and aristocracy. The Casino de Monte-Carlo in Monaco and the Casino Lisboa in Portugal are also famed casinos. According to research conducted by Roper Reports, GfK NOP and TNS, in 2005 the typical casino gambler was a forty-six-year-old female from a household with above average income.