A casino is a gambling establishment, usually built on land, where patrons play games of chance. The most common games are blackjack, roulette, craps, and slot machines. In addition to these, casinos often offer poker and other types of table games.
Casinos typically have a variety of security measures, including a physical security force and a specialized surveillance department. These two departments work closely with each other to protect the safety of guests and the casino’s assets.
Increasingly sophisticated video and computer systems allow casinos to watch every game in real time, from any point in the building. The video feeds are analyzed to discover suspicious behavior or cheating.
The casino also monitors gambling devices, such as slot machines and roulette wheels, to make sure that players are not changing bet amounts without their knowledge or consent. In the 1990s, casinos began to employ chip tracking, which allows betting chips with microcircuitry to interact with electronic systems to enable casinos to oversee precise amounts wagered minute-by-minute.
Gambling is a centuries-old activity, but it was not until the 16th century that the concept of a casino developed. At that time, Italian aristocrats gathered in private clubs called ridotti where they gambled on games of chance.
The first government-sanctioned casino was built in Venice in 1638. It was a four-story building with various rooms for primitive card games and a selection of food and beverages to keep the gamblers happy.