A casino is a place where you can gamble and play games of chance. Some casinos add a lot of extras like food, music, shopping and elaborate themes to appeal to the average visitor. But even without the extras, a casino would still be a gambling establishment. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and keno are the games that provide the billions in profits that casinos rake in every year.
Although the concept of a casino is as old as recorded history, the modern casino as we know it developed in the 16th century when a gambling craze swept Europe. At that time, wealthy Italian nobles met at private parties called ridotti where they could try their luck at a variety of gambling games.
Today, casinos employ a physical security force to patrol the facility and respond to calls for assistance and reports of suspicious or definite criminal activity. They also have a specialized surveillance department that operates the closed circuit television system (often referred to as the eye in the sky).
The routines and patterns of casino gambling activities create an environment where it’s easy for security personnel to spot something out of the ordinary. And the high-tech monitoring systems can be adjusted to focus on specific patrons if there’s an indication of a problem.
Many local businesses, from real estate developers to hotel chains, realized the potential income generated by casinos and bought out mob ownership of the operations. And because the federal government frowns on mob involvement in gaming, it’s hard for organized crime to take advantage of a casino’s profit-generating potential. Still, economic studies show that a casino’s benefit to the community may be offset by the cost of providing services for compulsive gamblers and by reduced productivity in the gaming industry.