A Casino is a place where various games of chance are played, with gambling the main activity. Many casinos add extra luxuries to help draw in customers, including restaurants with Michelin stars, stage shows and dramatic scenery. However, the main attraction remains gambling and casinos would not exist without games like slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno, baccarat and poker.

While gambling probably predates written history, the modern casino as we know it grew out of a 16th century gambling craze in Europe. Italian aristocrats began to hold private parties at places called ridotti, where they could play a variety of games of chance. These venues were not technically gambling houses, but they allowed patrons to gamble without being bothered by authorities [Source: Schwartz].

Today’s casinos offer much more than just slots and table games. Some feature exclusive performances by famous music stars, circus troops and stand-up comedians. Despite all the entertainment, though, most casinos remain money-making centers, with the majority of their profits coming from gambling.

The high level of money handled in casinos makes them a magnet for cheating and stealing. Both patrons and employees may be tempted to steal or cheat, either in collusion or independently. For this reason, most casinos spend a great deal of time and money on security measures. Among these are elaborate surveillance systems that give casino personnel an eye in the sky view of all tables, windows and doorways. They can be adjusted to zero in on suspicious patrons and are usually recorded so that perpetrators can be identified later.