A casino is a place where people gamble and play games of chance. While a casino may include other entertainment such as restaurants, hotels and shopping centers, the vast majority of its revenue is generated by gambling. Games such as blackjack, poker, roulette, craps, keno and baccarat bring in billions of dollars each year.
Gambling is almost certainly older than recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found at some of the world’s oldest archaeological sites. But the idea of a single location where a wide variety of different gambling activities could be enjoyed under one roof did not develop until around the 16th century. This is when Italian aristocrats began to hold private parties in what they called ridotti. These were like small clubhouses for rich people where the primary pastime was gambling.
Modern casinos employ a large number of staff to keep an eye on their patrons to prevent cheating and other criminal activity. Security is usually divided between a physical force that patrols the floor and a specialized surveillance department. The latter is usually able to monitor the entire casino via closed circuit television and other sophisticated systems.
In addition to these sophisticated systems, many casinos now employ a variety of other means to detect cheating. This includes “chip tracking” which allows the casinos to monitor exactly how much is being wagered minute by minute; electronic monitoring of roulette wheels to quickly discover any statistical anomalies; and a variety of other methods to ensure that their gambling activities are legitimate.