A casino is like an indoor amusement park for adults. Lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate themes attract visitors. But the billions of dollars in profits raked in by casinos are largely generated by games of chance: roulette, blackjack, craps, baccarat and slot machines.
Gambling probably predates written history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice found at archaeological sites. But the casino as a place where people could find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof didn’t develop until the 16th century during a gambling craze in Europe. During this period, European aristocrats often held private parties in venues called ridotti, where they gathered to play a variety of gambling games and to socialize.
While modern casinos are often modeled after Las Vegas, they can be found in locations around the world. The elegant spa town of Baden-Baden in Germany’s Black Forest region, for example, is renowned for its elegant poker rooms and more than 130 slots. The Venetian Macau in east Asia is the largest casino in the world. It features a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” surveillance system with cameras that can be manipulated to focus on suspicious patrons by security workers in a separate room filled with banks of monitors.
But even if casinos depend on luck and chance for their profits, they also spend a great deal of time and money on security. There’s something about the presence of large amounts of money that encourages people to cheat, steal and lie, which is why casino security is a top priority. Casinos use a mix of technology, rules and training to ensure that their patrons are treated fairly and legally.