Gambling in some form has existed as long as humans have, with primitive protodice and carved knuckle bones found in the most ancient archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. But it was not until the 16th century that a casino emerged as an organized place for people to find multiple ways to gamble under one roof. These private clubs, called ridotti, were popular during the European gambling craze of the time and often operated in defiance of gambling laws.
Today, casino gambling is mostly an experience surrounded by noise, lights and excitement. Gamblers can bet money on table games like craps and poker or play slot machines, which pay out in a random fashion based on the numbers that appear on the screen. Players can shout encouragement to other gamblers or be surrounded by people watching the games on TVs. Waiters float through the casino offering free alcohol or nonalcoholic drinks.
In the past, all casinos aimed to please everyone who came through their doors, but in recent years many have become choosier about the customers they attract. They focus on high rollers, a group of very rich and wealthy individuals who spend huge amounts of money gambling in separate rooms away from the main floor. These customers can be worth tens of thousands of dollars, and the casinos reward them with generous comps (gifts) like free luxury suites, meals and show tickets.