A casino, as the name implies, is an entertainment venue offering gambling and other amenities such as musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers, and elaborate themes. While these attractions draw in the crowds, casinos make the bulk of their money from games of chance like slot machines, blackjack, baccarat, craps, and roulette.
While gambling certainly predates recorded history, the modern casino did not emerge until the 16th century, when a gambling craze took hold of Europe. Italian aristocrats gathered in private clubs called ridotti, where they could gamble and socialize in comfort. While technically illegal, the casinos were rarely bothered by the authorities.
Modern casinos rely on sophisticated surveillance systems to keep their patrons safe and secure. Cameras in the ceiling provide a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” view of every table, window, and entranceway, and can be adjusted to focus on suspicious behavior. Casino security workers monitor the cameras from a room filled with banks of security screens.
Casinos also enforce their own rules of conduct to deter cheating and dishonesty. For example, dealers in table games must watch for blatantly marked and switched cards or dice, and pit bosses must keep an eye on the betting patterns of their patrons to detect suspicious patterns. Many casinos also discourage cheating by not allowing players to look at their hands or change their bets during the game. Comps are offered to high-rollers to encourage them to spend more money at the casino, and these players often have their own special rooms on the floor away from the main action.