Although casino’s are often equated with seedy backrooms controlled by the mafia, they are thriving businesses that draw millions of visitors each year. A modern casino might look like an indoor amusement park for adults, with musical shows, lighted fountains and themed hotels, but the bulk of the fun (and profits for the owners) comes from gambling games. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and other games of chance provide the billions of dollars that casinos make every year.
While gambling in one form or another almost certainly predates recorded history — primitive protodice and carved knuckle bones have been found at archaeological sites — the casino as we know it didn’t develop until the 16th century, when European aristocrats began to hold private parties at places called ridotti. These small, luxurious clubs allowed them to indulge in their favorite pastime without being bothered by the authorities.
Despite their high-end ambiance, casinos are not immune to the temptations of cheating and theft. Both patrons and employees may try to manipulate the results of a game or simply steal money, either in collusion with each other or independently. For this reason, security is a major consideration in casino operations. Besides the obvious surveillance cameras, many casinos use routines and patterns that help them detect abnormal behavior. For example, the way dealers shuffle and deal cards or place betting spots on a table follows certain patterns that can be easily spotted by trained personnel.