A casino is a building where a variety of games of chance are played, and where gambling is the primary activity. While casinos add a great deal of flash and flair to their gambling operations, they would not exist without the games themselves: slot machines, blackjack, poker, baccarat, craps and roulette are what draw people in and provide billions of dollars in profits each year.
Gambling is a risky business, and despite the added attractions of a casino environment, it’s not uncommon for gamblers to cheat or steal, either in collusion with other patrons or on their own. Because of this, casinos have a number of security measures in place to keep their patrons and workers safe. Security starts on the casino floor itself, where employees have a close eye on the various games to spot blatant cheating or stealing. More sophisticated measures involve surveillance cameras throughout the premises, providing a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” view of the entire facility at once. Security workers can adjust these cameras to focus on certain suspicious patrons, or to monitor table movements and betting patterns.
While gambling probably predates recorded history, the modern casino as a gathering place for a variety of different games under one roof did not emerge until the 16th century, during a gambling craze that swept Europe. At that time, wealthy Italian aristocrats would host private parties called ridotti to enjoy the excitement of gambling and fine food, and they were rarely bothered by authorities.