A casino is a gambling establishment that accepts bets on games of chance and offers its customers the opportunity to win or lose money. While musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and lavish hotels help draw in the crowds, casinos wouldn’t exist without games of chance like slots, blackjack, roulette, poker, craps, baccarat, and others. These games provide the billions in profits raked in by casinos each year.
While the idea of casinos dates back to primitive protodice and carved knuckle bones, the modern concept didn’t really take off until the 16th century when a gambling craze swept Europe. During this time, wealthy Italian aristocrats would hold private parties in places called ridotti where they could gamble, drink and socialize in the same location. Because these venues were technically illegal, they operated with little interference from the government.
In addition to enforcing gambling laws, casinos employ a number of security measures. This begins with floor personnel who keep their eyes on the game and patrons to spot blatant cheating like palming or marking cards or dice. Pit bosses and table managers have a more broad view of the gaming area, checking for betting patterns that might signal collusion between players or other signs of dishonesty. Casinos also feature elaborate surveillance systems with cameras that offer a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky.”
The average casino patron is a forty-six-year-old woman from a household with above-average income, according to research conducted by Roper Reports GfK NOP and the U.S. Gaming Panel by TNS. These people are the target market for casinos, which often focus on providing entertainment and leisure activities in addition to gambling.