A casino is a place where games of chance are played and money is won. This type of gambling establishment can range from massive resort casinos to small card rooms. Casino games include blackjack, roulette, slot machines and poker. The precise origin of casino gambling is unknown, but it may date back as far as ancient Mesopotamia. More recently, the concept has become popular in America, where many states have legalized gambling.
Casinos generate billions of dollars each year for the companies, investors and Native American tribes that operate them. Many casinos also provide services such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows that attract players. Gambling addictions, however, erode the social benefits of casino gambling and can reverse any economic gains it brings to local communities.
Because large sums of money are handled within a casino, both patrons and employees can be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion with each other or independently. That is why casinos spend a significant amount of time, energy and money on security.
Modern casinos employ two main types of security, a physical force that patrols the premises and a specialized surveillance department that operates a closed circuit television system (CCTV). Most modern casinos also use sophisticated technology to monitor the games themselves. For example, betting chips have built-in microcircuitry that interconnect with tables and electronic systems to oversee the exact amounts being wagered minute by minute and alert dealers of any statistical deviations.