A casino is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. Casinos offer a variety of gambling opportunities, including craps, roulette, baccarat, blackjack and video poker. Some casinos even have a few traditional Far Eastern games, such as sic bo and fan-tan. Most casinos make their money by taking a percentage of the total amount wagered, or “vig”, from each game, although some also take a flat fee per hour for table games.
Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive proto-dice and carved six-sided dice found in archeological sites, but the concept of a single locale that offered a variety of ways to gamble did not develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. At that time, European aristocrats would gather at private clubs called ridotti to play cards and gamble. [Source: Schwartz]
In the 1980s, Atlantic City and other casinos began to pop up around the country as states eased their antigambling laws. Iowa legalized riverboat casinos, and Native American casinos proliferated as well.
Modern casinos rely heavily on technology to ensure security. Many have a large number of cameras that track patrons and the machines they play. In addition, a lot of the ‘games’ have routines and patterns that can help detect cheating. The ‘betting chips’ in a casino, for example, have built-in microcircuitry that communicates with electronic systems at the tables to allow them to be monitored minute by minute and warn staff of any anomalies.