A casino is a place where a wide variety of games of chance can be played. It may add a few other things to attract patrons such as restaurants, stage shows and dramatic scenery. But it is the gambling that is the primary focus. Gambling has been around for a long time in many different cultures and countries.
The first modern casinos appeared in Europe in the 18th century, and in America in the 1920s. They were originally built to serve other purposes like theaters, then converted to gambling venues. Most of the oldest casinos in the world are still in operation today.
There is one certainty in gambling: The house always wins. Casinos have a number of built-in advantages that make it virtually impossible for players to win. These are known as the house edge, and they are designed to generate a gross profit for the casino.
Since the early 1980s, casinos have sprung up in places that were previously barred from legal gambling such as Atlantic City and Chicago. More recently, they have been popping up on American Indian reservations, which are not subject to state antigambling laws.
Something about the high amounts of money handled in casinos makes people tempted to cheat and steal, either in collusion or independently. That is why casinos spend a lot of time and money on security. They may also employ elaborate surveillance systems such as cameras that are wired to a central control room and can be adjusted by security workers to watch particular suspicious patrons.