Casino is any public place where a variety of games of chance are offered and gambling is the primary activity. Although many casinos feature a number of luxuries such as restaurants, shopping centers and stage shows, they would not exist without the billions in profits derived from gambling activities. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and other popular games provide the excitement that attracts gamblers.
Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in archaeological sites. However, the modern casino as a collection of various gambling activities under one roof did not appear until the 16th century in Europe. Since then, the industry has grown to include more than 3,000 legal gambling establishments worldwide.
In addition to a wide range of table and slot games, most casinos offer a variety of entertainment options for the non-gambling patron. Some of these facilities host a variety of musical or theatrical productions, while others feature a nightclub or other type of dance floor. Some have pools or other types of recreational amenities.
Casinos employ a large number of security personnel to protect their patrons and the property. Depending on the size of the facility, this may include a full-time guard or a team of patrol officers. In addition, sophisticated surveillance systems give the casino a “eye-in-the-sky” that can be adjusted to focus on suspicious activity. Casinos are also able to track players’ winnings and losses through a computer system that records each transaction.