The disproportionate profit of casinos comes from people addicted to gambling. About five percent of casinos’ patrons are addicted to gambling, generating twenty-five percent of the casino’s profits. However, economic studies have found that the positive impact of casinos on local economies is limited, as casinos draw predominantly local players, diverting spending from other forms of entertainment. While casinos may generate economic benefits for the local economy, the cost of treating problem gamblers and lost productivity may offset these benefits.
Today’s casino has become a global phenomenon, with a uniform character throughout the world. In the late 20th century, nearly every country in Europe changed its laws to permit gambling clubs. In the United Kingdom, gambling clubs have been licensed since the 1960s, and many of the most famous casinos in the world are based in the capital city. France legalized casinos in 1933, and now has some of the most popular European casinos. The casino has many different names, and the word casino is derived from the Latin meaning “gambling house.”
Gambling predates recorded history, and is thought to have originated with primitive protodice known as astragali. This is similar to the way the world today uses six-sided dice, or carved knuckle bones. The first casino was in Venice, Italy, where it was known as the Ridotto. The craze for gambling spread throughout Europe, and aristocratic Italians would hold private parties in their ridotti, private clubs for the rich. However, the Italian Inquisition was always on hand, and the nobles knew when to expect the Italian Inquisition.