A casino is a gambling establishment that offers customers a variety of games of chance. The most popular casino games include slots, roulette, baccarat, blackjack and craps. In addition to these games, many casinos offer a wide variety of entertainment options such as stage shows and free drinks.
Although the precise origins of gambling are unknown, it is clear that it has a long history in all societies. Evidence for early gaming can be found in primitive protodice and carved knuckle bones, but the modern casino as an organized gambling venue did not develop until the 16th century, when the Italian aristocracy used aristocratic-style villas for social occasions known as ridotti. These venues were technically illegal, but they rarely faced the attention of authorities [Source: Schwartz].
The casino industry is a major source of revenue for some cities. The largest casinos in the world are located in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Macau. Many of these casinos are elaborately outfitted with fountains, towers and replicas of famous landmarks. They also feature high-tech surveillance systems that allow security personnel to watch every table, window and doorway at once.
Patrons of a casino are expected to gamble within certain limits, but it is possible that some may attempt to cheat or steal. Because of the large amount of money that is handled by casino employees and patrons, most casinos employ security measures to deter such behavior. These measures range from video surveillance to a high-tech eye in the sky that allows security staff to view patrons and their actions from a central control room.