From elegant spa towns to high-end resorts, these 10 casinos around the world elevate gambling to an art form. While musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers help draw patrons, casinos would not exist without games of chance. Slot machines, baccarat, blackjack, roulette and other casino card games bring in billions of dollars in profits for owners every year.
Gambling probably existed before written history, but the concept of a place where multiple ways to gamble could be found under one roof did not become popular until the 16th century. A gambling craze swept Europe at this time, and Italian aristocrats often hosted private parties called ridotti where they could indulge in their favorite pastime. Although technically illegal, these ridotti were rarely bothered by authorities and the wealthy could spend hours and thousands of euros at the tables.
Casinos became a legitimate business enterprise in the 1950s, with mobster money providing much of the capital. However, many of these mobsters were not content to simply provide the money, and took sole or partial ownership of several casinos. In addition, they controlled their own employees and influenced the outcomes of games. With the threat of federal crackdowns and a loss of casino licenses at the slightest hint of mob involvement, legitimate businessmen were quick to buy out these mafia-controlled casinos.
Casino security starts on the floor, with a keen eye for any suspicious activity. Dealers are tasked with watching the movements and betting patterns of patrons, and can quickly spot any cheating or collusion. Video cameras throughout the premises also keep a watchful eye on everything that happens in the games themselves. For example, some casinos use “chip tracking” where betting chips have built-in microcircuitry that interact with electronic systems on the tables to oversee the exact amounts wagered minute-by-minute and to alert dealers when there is a statistical deviation from expected results.