A casino is a place where people can gamble. It might be a large building with lots of tables and slot machines or a small card room. Successful casinos bring in billions of dollars each year for the companies, investors, and Native American tribes that own and operate them. They also provide jobs, especially for those who work in the highly lucrative security industry. Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found at some of the oldest archaeological sites. The modern casino probably originated in Europe in the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept the continent and Italian aristocrats gathered to gamble in private places called ridotti [Source: Schwartz].
Casinos make money by offering games with built-in statistical advantages for them, which earn them a profit over time, even with the millions of bets placed each day by patrons. The advantage can be small, as with roulette (which has an edge of less than 2 percent), or it can be higher as with some games of chance like craps and poker. Slot machines and video poker generate most of the revenue for casinos, with their high speed play and adjustable payouts.
Because large amounts of cash are handled inside casinos, they are susceptible to theft and cheating by both patrons and employees. Because of this, security is a big part of the casino business. Elaborate surveillance systems use banks of cameras to cover the entire casino floor, with special cameras focused on suspicious areas. Security workers watch the cameras from a separate room, and they can adjust the cameras to focus on specific suspected individuals or groups.