A Casino is a gambling establishment where a variety of games of chance are offered. While a number of extras (such as restaurants, stage shows and shopping centers) help draw in gamblers, casinos would not exist without the games themselves: slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and baccarat are what bring in the billions of dollars in profits that the industry pulls in each year.
Despite being a source of entertainment and money, gambling is considered to be a vice and is illegal in most states. That did not prevent casinos from sprouting up around the country, however, and in many cases, gambling was a legal part of a casino’s offerings.
Modern casinos are often massive, with thousands of slots and tables packed into the space. A typical casino is also filled with high-tech surveillance systems that offer an “eye-in-the-sky” view of the entire property. The cameras can be adjusted to focus on specific patrons or groups of people, and security personnel can watch the video feeds from a control room.
Gambling probably dates back to the earliest humans, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in archeological sites. But a modern casino as we know it today did not develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. It started with small clubs for Italian aristocrats known as ridotti, where they could meet to gamble and enjoy each other’s company. From there, the idea grew to encompass larger and more elaborate public venues.