A casino is an entertainment venue where patrons can gamble and win money. While musical shows, lighted fountains and lavish hotels help draw in customers, the vast majority of casinos’ profits come from gambling. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and other games of chance provide the billions in earnings that casinos make every year.
Casinos are found all over the world. In the United States they are located primarily in Atlantic City, New Jersey; Las Vegas, Nevada; and on American Indian reservations, which are not subject to state antigambling laws. In addition, casinos can be found in many other cities and countries around the world.
The concept of the casino originated in the 16th century, during a gambling craze that swept Europe. Italian aristocrats would meet at private gambling houses known as ridotti to enjoy themselves and to play games like dice. Although technically illegal, the ridotti were rarely bothered by legal authorities.
Today, casinos are designed to maximize revenue and attract big spenders. They feature large-screen TVs, comfortable chairs, opulent buffets and top-notch entertainment. The most prestigious and expensive casinos are found in the world’s major tourist destinations, including Monte Carlo; the Eiffel Tower in Paris; and Macau, China.
Due to the large amounts of currency that are handled within a casino, both patrons and employees may be tempted to cheat or steal from one another in collusion or independently. To prevent this, casinos employ elaborate security measures. These include a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” surveillance system that is able to monitor every table, window and doorway at once.