What is a Casino?
The Casino is a place where people can play games of chance for money. The precise origin of gambling is unknown, but it can be traced back to primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and even carved six-sided dice found in the oldest archaeological sites [source: Schwartz]. A casino was first established in Europe in the 16th century during a gambling craze, when Italian aristocrats would hold private parties at places called Ridotto. These were basically private clubs where gambling was permitted and they became very popular.
Modern casinos are like huge indoor amusement parks, with the bulk of their entertainment and profits coming from gambling. Musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers help draw the crowds, but a casino’s real attraction is its array of games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette and a variety of other table games generate the billions of dollars in profits that casino owners rake in each year.
Although casino gambling is illegal in some states, the industry has been growing at an extraordinary pace. During the 1980s and 1990s, many American Indian reservations opened casinos, which are not subject to state anti-gambling laws. Casinos also appeared in Atlantic City, New Jersey and on a number of American riverboats.
Casinos are not without their risks, however. Because large sums of money are handled, there is always a temptation for patrons and employees to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. This is why casinos spend a lot of time and money on security.