A casino is a place where people gamble on games of chance. While slot machines, baccarat, roulette, craps and blackjack all provide the billions of dollars in profits that casinos generate every year, there are other elements that draw people into these gambling meccas. Musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate hotels also contribute to the overall experience. But even with all this flash, casinos would not exist without the games themselves.
Gambling almost certainly existed long before recorded history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice found in some of the world’s oldest archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. But the modern concept of a casino as a place where gamblers can find a variety of games under one roof emerged in the 16th century during a gambling craze that swept Europe. Italian aristocrats, in particular, held private parties at gambling houses called ridotti.
While something about gambling seems to encourage cheating, stealing and scamming, casinos spend enormous amounts of time, effort and money on security. Some of the most sophisticated security measures are invisible to the public, like a hidden camera system that watches every table, window and doorway. The cameras can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons by security workers in a room filled with banks of secure monitors.
Other security measures are less subtle, like the regular routines and patterns that customers follow when playing a game. The way dealers shuffle and deal cards, for instance, follows predictable patterns. If someone breaks those routines, security guards are likely to notice.