The casino (also called a gaming establishment or card room) is a place where people play a variety of gambling games. Casinos are most often located in resorts, cities, or tourist attractions, and they serve a variety of purposes. Whether they are used to entertain, promote or fund other activities, casinos are an important part of many communities.
Gambling almost certainly predates written history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in the world’s oldest archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. However, the casino as a central location where people could find a wide variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century during a gambling craze in Europe. At that time, wealthy Italian aristocrats held private parties in places known as ridotti where they played games of chance and skill. These parties were a bit of a shady business as gambling was technically illegal, but the nobles rarely got bothered by the authorities.
Today, the casino is a popular entertainment venue with a large and diverse audience. The average casino patron is a forty-six year old female from a household with above-average income. Casinos earn their money by taking a small percentage of the bets placed in the games they offer. This is also referred to as the house edge, and it can range from less than two percent in blackjack to over seventy percent in games like roulette and craps. In addition to the house edge, some casinos generate additional revenue from video poker and slot machines.