The modern casino is like an indoor amusement park for adults, but the vast majority of entertainment (and profits for the owner) comes from gambling. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and baccarat are among the games that provide billions in profit to casinos every year.
Although gambling likely predates recorded history – primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice are found in ancient archaeological sites — the concept of the casino as a place for people to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof didn’t develop until the 16th century. That’s when Italian aristocrats formed private clubs called ridotti, which allowed them to gamble without being bothered by authorities [Source: Schwartz].
Most casinos offer hundreds of slots and many table games. Some also have dedicated rooms for high rollers and VIP players who want a quieter gaming experience. Some of the largest casinos in the world – such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City – have thousands of slot machines and hundreds of tables.
The large amounts of money handled within a casino make it a potentially dangerous environment, and cheating and theft by patrons are common. To protect against this, many casinos have extensive security measures. For example, chip tracking allows casinos to oversee exactly how much a patron wagers minute-by-minute, and electronic systems in roulette wheels monitor the odds of each spin regularly and alert staff if there’s a statistical deviation from expectations. Security measures may also include casino surveillance cameras and staff members who patrol the premises.