A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. While musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers help draw in gamblers, the bulk of the money casinos make comes from games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and craps bring in billions of dollars every year. A number of other games, however, are offered in some casinos. These include traditional Far Eastern games like sic bo (which spread to many European and American casinos in the 1990s) fan-tan, and pai gow.
Although gambling probably predates written history, the idea of a casino as a place to find a variety of different ways to gamble under one roof didn’t develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. In Italy, nobles held private parties called ridotti in places that were technically illegal but rarely bothered by the police.
Gambling in the modern sense of the word grew from these private party rooms and evolved into the large Las Vegas Strip casinos of today. Today, the United States is home to more than 1,000 casinos. The industry continues to grow as more states legalize casino gambling. Some casinos are very focused on customer service, offering perks to encourage people to spend more money and rewarding high rollers with free room and show tickets. Security is also a key part of the casino business. Something about gambling seems to inspire people to cheat, steal and scam their way into a jackpot, which is why casinos devote so much time and money to security. Elaborate surveillance systems provide a high-tech eye-in-the-sky for security staff, who can watch every table, window and doorway at once with cameras that can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons.