A casino, or gambling house, is a building where people can play games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and other games bring in billions of dollars in profits every year for casinos. Other amenities, such as musical shows, shopping centers and hotels, help draw visitors. But casinos would not exist without the games of chance.
The idea of a casino is as old as human history. Throughout recorded history, people have gambled, with primitive protodice and carved dice found in the oldest archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. But the modern casino as we know it began to develop around the 16th century during a gambling craze in Europe. At that time, Italian aristocrats often held parties at gambling houses called ridotti, where they gambled and socialized with friends.
Gambling in casinos is often highly profitable, with some casinos generating more than $6 billion per year in revenue. As a result, casino owners have an incentive to lure as many people as possible through the doors, in order to maximize profits. To do so, they provide a variety of perks for players, including free hotel rooms, food, drinks and show tickets. Casinos also design their facilities with specific goals in mind. They use bright, sometimes gaudy floor and wall coverings to stimulate the senses, and they avoid clocks in their buildings because they can make gamblers lose track of time.
Casinos also have strict rules to prevent cheating and other crimes. Security starts on the casino floor, where casino employees keep an eye on every table and player to spot any suspicious activity. Elaborate surveillance systems offer a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” that allows security workers to monitor the entire casino at once, adjust camera angles and zoom in on suspicious patrons.