Casino is the place to go for people who like to gamble, play games and watch entertainment shows. It’s like an indoor amusement park for adults, with lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate hotels. But casinos wouldn’t exist without games of chance, which generate the billions in profits that attract people to them. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, poker and other games provide the gambling that brings people in to spend their money.
While gambling probably predates recorded history, the modern casino is a relatively recent development. The first ones were small clubhouses for Italian aristocrats called ridotti, which came into use during a period when gambling was popular in Europe. The closure of large public gambling houses during this time pushed gambling into these private clubs.
Many state laws prohibit gambling, but a few have legalized it. Atlantic City in the United States, for instance, is famous for its casinos. In the 1980s, more casinos began to appear on American Indian reservations, which are exempt from some state laws.
Casinos are heavily guarded to prevent cheating and theft. Security starts on the gaming floor, where dealers keep an eye out for blatant attempts at cheating, such as palming cards or switching dice. High-tech surveillance systems offer a kind of “eye-in-the-sky” that allows security staff to focus on suspicious patrons with the flick of a button. These systems also allow staff to review game-play tapes. In addition, some casinos have a number of employees who are specially trained to spot compulsive gambling and other signs of problem addiction.