A casino is a building that houses a variety of gambling activities. The word is derived from the Latin castra, meaning “to fortify”. While gambling certainly predates recorded history—primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice have been found at archaeological sites, for example—the casino as a place to find a multitude of ways to gamble under one roof didn’t appear until the 16th century. In that time, European aristocrats often held private parties at venues known as ridotti in which they could indulge their gambling passion.
The modern casino evolved as a place to draw tourists. Nevada was the first state to legalize casinos, and they soon grew in popularity around the world. Casinos are also a major source of revenue for the hospitality industry, with visitors spending billions of dollars each year.
Something about gambling seems to encourage people to cheat and steal, even if it’s just for the chance of winning a jackpot. That’s why casinos spend a lot of time and money on security.
Technology is a big part of that, with video cameras and computers routinely monitoring games. Chip tracking, for example, allows casino personnel to see exactly how much is being wagered on a table minute by minute and immediately detect any suspicious betting patterns. Roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly to discover any statistical deviation from their expected results.
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