A casino is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. It has an ambiance that is often luxurious and exciting, and it is a popular destination for tourists and high-stakes gamblers alike. Many casinos also feature entertainment, top-notch hotels and spas, and a wide range of other amenities.
While musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers all draw in crowds, casinos would not exist without games of chance. Slot machines, roulette, baccarat, blackjack and craps generate the billions in profits that casinos bring in each year. While gambling probably dates back to primitive protodice and carved knuckle bones, the casino as we know it today emerged in the 16th century during a widespread gambling craze among European aristocrats, who often gambled together at private clubs known as ridotti [Source: Schwartz].
Casinos have grown more sophisticated since their mob-era roots. Modern casinos employ technology to monitor game results and players. In one example, chips with built-in microcircuitry interact with electronic systems on the tables to enable casinos to oversee the exact amounts wagered minute by minute and to be warned of any anomaly. Roulette wheels are monitored regularly to discover any statistical deviations from their expected results, and video cameras are used to track suspicious activity. In addition, elaborate surveillance systems offer a high-tech eye-in-the-sky that allows security personnel to watch every table and window in the building simultaneously. In this way, casinos can ensure that all patrons are playing by the rules and not cheating.