A casino is like an indoor amusement park for adults, but the vast majority of the entertainment (and profits for the owners) comes from gambling. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and keno all contribute to the billions of dollars casinos make in profit each year.
Even though gambling may have existed as long as humankind has been around, the modern casino as we know it only developed in the 16th century. Gambling crazes in Europe at the time led to the development of places where people could find all kinds of games under one roof. These were known as ridotti, and Italian aristocrats used them to host private parties while hiding from the Roman Inquisition.
The casino business has a dark side. Studies show that compulsive gamblers generate a disproportionate share of the industry’s profits and cost cities and states millions of dollars in lost productivity, treatment and social services. Many casino critics argue that, despite the money they bring in, casinos actually hurt communities by diverting spending from other forms of local entertainment and detracting from real economic growth.
Security is a top priority at casino, and it starts on the floor, where employees keep an eye out for blatant cheating such as palming or marking cards. More subtle patterns are also watched for, such as the way dealers shuffle and deal and the location of bet spots on the table. In addition, many casinos have catwalks above the casino floor that allow surveillance personnel to look down at tables and slot machines through one-way glass.