A casino is a place where gamblers risk their money in games of chance. The game selection varies by location and is regulated by laws and gaming regulations. Casinos offer a wide variety of gambling products, including slot machines, poker, roulette, blackjack, craps, baccarat, and bingo. Some casinos also have restaurants and stage shows. The casino industry has become a major source of income for many nations.
Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in archaeological digs. But the concept of a place where people could find all the different ways to gamble under one roof didn’t develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze took hold in Europe. European aristocrats would hold private parties at their homes, which were called ridotti [source: corpora]. Unlike modern American casinos that feature a vast array of games of chance and add luxuries like free drinks and restaurants to attract customers, these early ridotti were simply places where people could play the games they knew best.
Mobster money flowed steadily into Reno and Las Vegas during the 1950s, allowing casino owners to expand and renovate. But legit businessmen were reluctant to get involved, given casino’s seamy reputation. Real estate investors and hotel chains had plenty of cash, however, so they bought out the mobsters and ran their own casinos.
Security is a big part of the casino business, and it starts on the floor. Dealers are heavily trained to watch for blatant cheating, such as palming or marking cards. They’re also trained to spot betting patterns that might signal cheating. Each table has a pit boss and manager who watch over the action, keeping an eye out for tables that are winning or losing too much.