What Is a Casino?

A casino is a place where a variety of games of chance are played. It is often lavish and glitzy, but its primary draw is gambling. While shopping centers, restaurants and musical shows help attract patrons, casinos would not exist without the billions of dollars in profits raked in by slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and other popular games of chance.

The origins of the casino date back to ancient times, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice appearing in the earliest archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. However, the first government-sanctioned gambling house was not opened until 1638, when Venice experienced a gambling craze. It was a four-story building known as the Ridotto, where wealthy aristocrats could find all of their favorite types of gambling under one roof.

The modern casino has a much more complicated operation, including a host of security measures to ensure the safety of its patrons and their money. Most casinos employ a physical security force and a specialized surveillance department. They work together to patrol the casino, respond to calls for assistance and monitor the gaming area for signs of suspicious or criminal activity. While this approach is not foolproof, it has proven effective in keeping most casino-related crime at bay.