A Casino is a building that offers a variety of gambling activities and is owned and operated by a business. It adds a host of other amenities to lure patrons, such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows. Nevertheless, it would not exist without the games of chance that make up the bulk of the billions in profits that casinos rake in each year. Because large amounts of money are handled within a casino, both staff and patrons are occasionally tempted to cheat or steal in order to gain an advantage. This is why casinos devote such a great deal of time, effort and money to security.
Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in the oldest archaeological sites. But the modern casino as a place for people to find a wide range of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe.
During the 1990s, the technology used by casinos became increasingly sophisticated. Video cameras monitor the gaming floor, and special chips with built-in microcircuitry allow casinos to keep track of bets minute by minute. Roulette wheels and other games are electronically monitored to detect any statistical deviations that could indicate cheating or fraud.
The most famous of all casinos is in Las Vegas, although there are others in Atlantic City, New Jersey and Chicago. The number of casinos in the United States continues to grow, as more states legalize gambling.