A casino is a public place where a variety of games of chance can be played and where gambling is the primary activity. While musical shows, restaurants and stage scenery help draw patrons, casinos would not exist without the billions of dollars that players put into slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and other games.

Although the earliest forms of gambling probably predate recorded history, carved knucklebones and primitive protodice have been found at many archaeological sites. However, the modern casino developed in the 16th century during a period when a gambling craze swept Europe. Italian aristocrats gathered in private venues called ridotti to indulge in their passion, even though gambling was technically illegal [Source: Schwartz].

From the glittering resorts of Las Vegas to the illegal pai gow parlors of New York’s Chinatown, casinos are located worldwide and serve more than 51 million people a year. They are a major source of employment and a significant source of tax revenue in their host communities, but they also contribute to social problems like problem gambling and other forms of addiction.

Casinos employ a wide range of security measures to keep their patrons safe. They use video cameras to monitor the activities of their patrons, and a specialized staff keeps an eye on individual gamblers to spot blatant cheating. In addition, table managers and pit bosses have a broader view of the betting patterns of their patrons to see if any suspicious behavior is occurring.