What is a Casino?

Casino is the name given to public places where games of chance are played and where gambling is legal. These establishments may add a number of luxurious features, including restaurants, free drinks and stage shows, but their primary purpose is to house gambling activities. They usually require players to use real money in order to play, but some allow players to bet virtual coins. The United States is one of the world’s biggest gambling destinations, and there are numerous land-based casinos scattered across the country.

Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in ancient archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. However, the casino as a place to find a variety of gambling activities under one roof did not develop until the 16th century when a gambling craze swept Europe and wealthy Italian aristocrats held private parties at their houses known as ridotti. These ‘private casinos’ offered aristocrats the opportunity to gamble and enjoy a night out with their friends without worrying about the police or other authorities.

Casinos use a variety of surveillance methods to prevent cheating and theft by patrons and employees. Security workers on the floor monitor games for signs of blatant cheating like palming or marking cards, while pit bosses and table managers watch over table games with a broader view, noticing betting patterns that might suggest collusion or otherwise. More elaborate surveillance systems provide an eye-in-the-sky view of the entire casino at once, allowing security workers to focus on suspicious patrons by changing the camera’s angle.