Casinos are entertainment and gambling centers that have stage shows, shopping centers, and restaurants. But they would not exist without games of chance like slots, blackjack, roulette, craps, and baccarat that provide the billions in profits casinos rake in every year.
Gambling has existed since ancient times, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice being found in archeological digs. But the modern casino as a place that offers a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not emerge until the 16th century, when it became popular in Europe. Wealthy aristocrats gathered in private places known as ridotti to play games of chance.
Something about gambling seems to inspire people to cheat or steal, and the large amounts of money that are at stake in casinos make them high-risk environments. That’s why casinos spend a lot of time and effort on security. Casino employees keep a close eye on patrons, noting their reactions and betting patterns. Cameras mounted in the ceiling offer a bird’s-eye view of the entire casino floor and can be focused on suspicious patrons by workers in a room filled with banks of security monitors.
In addition to security, casinos rely on loyalty programs to keep regulars coming back. These are similar to frequent-flyer programs used by airlines; they reward loyal patrons with coupons for free slot play, food, drinks, or even hotel rooms. Using technology to track the spending habits of players, casinos can develop a database that allows them to tailor offers to specific patrons.