A casino is a gambling establishment offering a variety of card games, dice games, domino games, and gambling devices. The house takes a percentage of the total amount wagered on games such as blackjack, roulette, craps, and poker. A casino can also contain nongambling attractions such as restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues. Some casinos are owned by or combined with hotels and resorts.
Gambling is a popular pastime that has been enjoyed by people throughout history in many different cultures and social settings. While some countries have banned it, others endorse it with regulated gaming facilities. Whether legal or not, gambling is an important industry that affects the lives of millions of people worldwide.
The earliest casinos were founded in the 1950s when organized crime figures began to use their wealth from drug dealing and other illegal activities to finance operations in Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada. The mobsters’ money gave casinos an air of legitimacy and helped to shift public perceptions about the acceptability of gambling.
To protect their profits, casinos have developed a number of security measures. The most visible are the cameras that watch everyone in the building and the high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” surveillance systems that track every table, window, and doorway. In addition, the routines of casino games themselves are designed to make cheating or theft difficult by establishing patterns that security personnel can detect quickly. For instance, betting chips have built-in microcircuitry that allows them to be tracked minute by minute and to be warned of any statistical deviation from their expected value; likewise, roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly to discover any suspicious pattern.