A casino is a place where people play gambling games. Modern casinos are like indoor amusement parks for adults, but the billions in profits they rake in each year come from games of chance. While they offer free drinks, stage shows and elaborate themes to draw in customers, casinos would not exist without the games themselves. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and keno provide the thrill that drives casino guests.
Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice discovered in archaeological digs, but the modern casino did not appear until the 16th century as part of a gambling craze among European nobles. Italian aristocrats gathered at their ridotti, or private parties, to indulge in their passion for gambling. While they were technically breaking the law, they were rarely bothered by the Inquisition. Eventually, the idea caught on and casinos began to sprout in cities around the world.
Casinos are heavily guarded to keep out mobsters and other shady characters. Security begins on the casino floor, where employees have a clear view of all the tables and can easily spot cheating or other deviations from protocol. Pit bosses and table managers have a slightly different view, keeping track of bets minute by minute and watching for patterns that indicate the occurrence of certain kinds of fraud. Video cameras monitor tables, and a computer system keeps track of the results of each game to discover any statistical anomalies in a game’s expected outcome.