A casino, also known as a gambling establishment, is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. Many casinos add a variety of extras to make the experience more enjoyable, such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows. A casino can be very elaborate, like the Bellagio in Las Vegas, or it can be more modest, such as the town of Baden-Baden in Germany, where casinos first began to attract royalty and aristocrats.
In modern casinos, security starts with cameras and other technological measures, but there’s a more subtle element as well. Casino employees watch the players carefully, looking for any tampering with cards or dice. They also pay attention to betting patterns and other things that can indicate cheating or scamming.
Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice found in ancient archaeological sites. But the casino as we know it developed in the 16th century, with a gambling craze that swept Europe and inspired Italian aristocrats to open their own private clubs, called ridotti, where they could indulge their passion for risk-taking.
Today, casinos are all over the world, attracting people from all walks of life to spend their money on a hope for a big jackpot. They’re also growing — the world’s largest casino is now located in China, and by 2025 it’s projected to grow even more. With disposable income rising around the world, casino growth is fueled by more people who can afford to try their luck.