A casino is a gambling establishment where patrons try to win money by playing games of chance, and in some cases with an element of skill. Casinos earn billions in profits from games such as blackjack, craps, roulette, video poker and slot machines. In addition to their gambling operations, casinos often feature entertainment and shopping.
While gamblers have been around since primitive protodice, the modern casino as an institution didn’t appear until the 16th century when a gambling craze swept Europe. In Italy, wealthy nobles gathered at private gambling houses called ridotti.
Today’s casinos are equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Security cameras watch every table, window and doorway. Staff constantly monitors casino patrons for suspicious behavior and can quickly alert the police if they see a crime. Computerized “chip tracking” allows the casino to watch exactly how much is being wagered minute by minute and warns of any discrepancies; automated roulette wheels are electronically monitored to discover any statistical deviation.
But even with all these precautions, casino employees are still tempted to cheat and steal, either in collusion or independently. Something about the large amounts of cash that are handled in casinos encourages people to try and find ways to game the system, so casinos spend a lot of time, money and energy on security.