A casino, or gambling establishment, is a place where people can gamble. Modern casinos are much like an indoor amusement park, complete with musical shows and lighted fountains, but the vast majority of their profits come from games of chance such as slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat, and poker.
Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and even carved six-sided dice appearing in some of the earliest archaeological sites. But the idea of a single location where multiple types of gambling could be found under one roof took hold in the 16th century during a European gambling craze. The word “casino” is believed to have come from the Italian “ridotti,” which were small clubhouses where rich aristocrats would gather for social events and gamble.
There are currently over 3,000 legal casinos in operation around the world. The largest concentration is in Las Vegas, followed by Atlantic City and then Chicago. In the United States, casinos can also be found on Indian reservations and other places exempt from state antigambling laws.
Security is a major concern for casino operators. With large amounts of money constantly changing hands, patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion with each other or independently. This is why casinos spend a large amount of time and money on security measures. Cameras and computers monitor all gambling activities, and table games have special systems to record the exact amounts wagered minute by minute, alerting supervisors to any deviation from expected results.