A casino is a place where a variety of gambling activities take place. While musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers help lure visitors in, the bulk of the profits (and fun) come from games of chance like slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and keno. While gambling probably existed as early as carved six-sided dice and primitive protodice, the modern casino as a place to find all of these games under one roof did not emerge until the late 1960s when Nevada allowed casinos and Iowa legalized riverboat gambling. Then in the 1980s, Atlantic City and American Indian reservations opened casinos.
Today, most casinos feature a large variety of gambling activities, luxurious accommodations and high-end restaurants. Many of them also offer free drinks, show tickets and comps to attract gamblers and keep them playing. The largest casinos in the world include WinStar World Casino and The Venetian and City of Dreams in Macau, China.
Casinos employ technology to improve security and to help them detect cheating. For example, casino chips have built-in microcircuitry that allows the casinos to monitor the exact amount of money wagered minute by minute and alert them quickly if there is a statistical deviation from expected results. In addition, cameras provide an “eye-in-the-sky” view of the entire gaming floor and all windows and doors to spot suspicious behavior.
Although mob money flowed into the early Vegas and Reno casinos, legitimate businessmen with deep pockets soon realized that the gambling industry was a cash cow. They bought out the gangsters and now run their casinos without fear of federal crackdowns or mob interference.