A casino is a building or room in which different types of gambling activities are carried out. The modern casino is like an indoor amusement park for adults, with the vast majority of its entertainment (and profits for the owner) coming from gambling. Musical shows, lighted fountains and elaborate themes help draw in the crowds, but slots, black jack, roulette, craps, keno, and other games of chance provide the billions in profits that casinos rake in every year.

While gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, the casino as a place where a variety of gaming could be found under one roof didn’t emerge until the 16th century, when a gambling craze in Europe led Italian aristocrats to create “ridotti” [source: Schwartz]. These private parties were technically illegal, but the aristocratic clientele tended to avoid detection from law enforcement authorities.

The modern casino is a huge, lavish facility that features restaurants, shops, stage shows and more. It also features the latest in electronic security. Elaborate surveillance systems give security personnel a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” that can watch every table, window and doorway with the flick of a finger. The cameras can even be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons. Security starts on the casino floor, where dealers can spot blatant cheating like palming, marking or switching cards and dice. Pit bosses and tables managers also keep an eye out for betting patterns that may signal a problem, or just a bad run of luck.