A casino is a place where a variety of gambling games can be played. It also offers other forms of entertainment such as stage shows and free drinks. Some casinos have restaurants and hotels.
While musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and extravagant themes help to draw in the crowds, casinos would not exist without their primary attractions: the games of chance. Slot machines, roulette, blackjack, craps, baccarat, and more supply the billions in profits that casinos pull in every year.
Gambling probably predates recorded history, but a casino as a place where people could find a wide variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century. A gambling craze swept Europe at the time, and Italian aristocrats often held private parties in rooms called ridotti. Technically, such places were illegal, but the wealthy patrons rarely got caught.
During the 1990s casinos increased their use of technology to monitor game play. For example, casino chips with built-in microcircuitry allow the establishment to oversee exactly how much is wagered minute by minute and to warn staff quickly if any anomaly occurs; and roulette wheels are electronically monitored on a regular basis to discover any statistical deviation from expected results.
Even when games are being run fairly, patrons may still be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion with each other or independently. This is why most casinos employ security measures that include cameras located throughout the facility.