A casino is an adult amusement park where the vast majority of the attractions are games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and other games bring in billions of dollars in profits each year. While musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and lavish hotels help draw in patrons, casinos would not exist without these games of chance.
Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, but the modern casino as a central gathering place for a variety of gambling activities did not develop until the 16th century during a gambling craze in Europe. At that time, wealthy people gathered in private clubs called ridotti to gamble and socialize. Ridotti were technically illegal, but their members were not bothered by the law.
Today’s casinos make the most money from high-stakes gamblers, or “high rollers,” who are given special rooms, separate from the main casino floor, to play in. These high rollers are a significant source of profit for the casinos, and they also receive many other perks that are meant to encourage them to spend more money. These include free spectacular entertainment, reduced-fare transportation and elegant living quarters. Casinos also employ elaborate technology to keep track of patrons’ actions. For example, some table games have betting chips with built-in microcircuitry that interacts with electronic systems to enable the casinos to oversee exactly what is being wagered minute-by-minute; and roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly to discover any statistical deviations from expected outcomes.