A casino is a facility that houses gambling games. Although modern casinos include musical shows, shopping centers, lighted fountains and elaborate themes, the vast majority of the entertainment (and profits for the owner) comes from games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and keno generate the billions of dollars in profits that casino owners rake in each year.
Gambling has been part of human culture for millennia. It is believed that ancient Mesopotamia, China, Rome and Elizabethan England all had forms of gambling. Today, casinos have become popular tourist destinations and are found all over the world. In America, Las Vegas has the highest concentration of casinos, followed by Atlantic City and Chicago. Many American Indian reservations also have casinos. In the 1980s several states passed laws permitting casinos, often on riverboats or in other locales not subject to state antigambling statutes.
In addition to general security, casinos employ a wide variety of methods for keeping track of the money they handle. For example, betting chips have built in microcircuitry to allow casino managers to monitor the exact amount wagered minute-by-minute and quickly discover any anomaly. Roulette wheels are electronically monitored to ensure that they are spinning as expected; and even video poker machines have built in computer systems that can detect any improbable pattern of play.
Casinos also offer comps to good players, such as free hotel rooms, food, drinks and show tickets. The idea is that good gamblers will return to the casino often, bringing with them business and pleasure friends and perhaps generating a profit for the gaming establishment.