What Is a Casino?
A casino is a gambling establishment where gamblers place bets with cash or casino chips on various possible random outcomes or combinations of outcomes. Some casinos also offer a variety of other games such as video poker or keno. In some countries, such as the United States, casinos are licensed and regulated by a state government. Other countries restrict or ban casino gambling.
Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice appearing in some of the oldest archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. But the casino as a place where people could find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. Italian aristocrats would hold private parties in facilities called ridotti, where they could play games of chance and other games of skill without being bothered by the authorities.
Modern casinos are heavily reliant on technology to ensure the integrity of their games and protect their patrons. For example, in table games, dealers are trained to watch for blatant cheating such as palming, marking or switching cards or dice. Casinos monitor game results with cameras and electronic systems that record the exact amounts of money wagered minute by minute, alerting staff if there is an unusual statistical deviation from expected results.
In addition to cameras and other technological security measures, most casinos employ a team of people charged with monitoring and policing the gambling floor. These include casino managers and supervisors who oversee the gaming activities of other employees, pit bosses who supervise individual games, and slot attendants who monitor the behavior and actions of players at each machine. Some casinos even have catwalks above the casino floor that allow surveillance personnel to look directly down, through one-way glass, on the game tables and slot machines.