A casino is a place where people gamble by playing games of chance. Although other entertainment like musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate hotel themes help draw people to casinos, the vast majority of money bet in casinos is from games of chance such as slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and poker. Casinos provide billions in profits to owners each year.
Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice found in ancient archaeological sites. However, the modern idea of a large, centrally located venue with a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century. During this time gambling crazes were sweeping Europe and Italian aristocrats would hold private parties in a type of clubhouse called a ridotto. These were not considered illegal, and their patrons were rarely bothered by the police.
Today casinos are massive businesses that make millions every year and attract visitors from all over the world. Some casinos are open 24 hours and feature multiple gaming tables and machines. A few of the biggest revenue-generating casinos in the United States are located in Las Vegas, Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The casino industry is highly lucrative, but there are also dark sides to the business. Players can be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion with other patrons or independently. Security measures in casinos are designed to deter these attempts. A basic level of security includes a surveillance system with cameras placed throughout the casino. The cameras help security staff keep track of activities and spot blatant attempts to cheat, such as palming or marking cards or dice. Security personnel also watch the routines of different casino games to ensure that players are not changing the rules.