What Is a Casino?
A casino is an establishment where gambling is the primary activity. While gambling certainly predates casinos (with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in archaeological sites), the casino as a place to find all types of gaming activities under one roof was likely developed during the 16th century when a gambling craze swept Europe. Even before that time, wealthy Italian nobles often gathered in private places called ridotti to gamble and drink and socialize without being bothered by the authorities.
The large amount of money handled within a casino makes it tempting for both patrons and employees to cheat or steal, either in collusion or on an independent basis. This is why casinos invest a large sum of time, energy and money on security measures. Cameras are located throughout the premises, and the high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” surveillance system allows security workers to monitor and control the activities of the entire casino from a single room filled with banks of security monitors.
In addition to cameras, casinos employ a host of other tricks to attract and keep gamblers. Slot machines are designed to appeal to the senses of sight and sound, with flashing lights and clanging noises accompanied by brightly lit displays of coins dropping from the machines. The scent of cigarette smoke and other odors are also used to lure gamblers. In addition, windows and clocks are rare in casinos, so players can easily lose track of time and spend far more than they intended to.