Unlike Internet gambling, which relies on a computer system to deliver the games and calculate odds, casino gambling involves actual people interacting with one another. Players often shout encouragement to one another, and they are surrounded by other people as they play craps, poker or slot machines. The atmosphere is loud, colorful and exciting. There are waiters circulating with alcoholic drinks, and nonalcoholic beverages are usually available free of charge.

Casinos are designed to persuade people to gamble by offering a variety of inducements. They provide a wide range of complimentary goods and services to gamblers, called “comps.” The amount of comps received depends on the amount of money a person spends at the casino. High rollers (people who gamble large amounts of money) are given lavish inducements, such as free hotel rooms, free meals and tickets to shows, and reduced-fare transportation. Casinos also make use of technology to monitor their games, such as by using chips with built-in microcircuitry to track the exact amount of money a player bets minute by minute and to alert security personnel if there is a problem; or by monitoring the movements of roulette wheels and dice to see if they deviate from an expected pattern.

Although gambling probably predates recorded history, the casino as a place to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century. At that time, Italian aristocrats would meet in private clubs known as ridotti to gamble. Because these were private affairs, they were not subject to legal scrutiny.