A Casino is a facility for certain types of gambling. Some casinos also offer hotel rooms and other amenities. Most countries have legalized casinos. There are several famous casino cities, such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved knucklebones found in archaeological sites. But the first government-sanctioned gambling house opened in Venice in 1638, when a gambling craze swept Europe. It was called a Ridotto, and it had rooms for primitive card games and a selection of food and drink to keep its patrons happy.
In modern times, casinos have become increasingly lavish and glamorous. Many now feature restaurants, theaters, and spectacular scenery. They use technology to enforce security and detect cheating. For example, video cameras monitor card-game players’ hands to make sure their cards remain visible at all times; a computerized system tracks the amount wagered on each table minute by minute so that any statistical deviation sticks out like a sore thumb; and roulette wheels are electronically monitored for anomalies.
But despite the glamour and excitement of a casino, something about gambling (perhaps the presence of large amounts of money) encourages people to try to cheat or steal. That’s why casinos spend a great deal of time and effort on security. Security measures range from cameras to a “spotter” who watches tables and slot machines through one-way glass. Many casinos have surveillance rooms that give the security staff a bird’s-eye view of the entire casino floor.