A casino is a place where people can gamble. It also offers stage shows, fine dining and a host of other amenities. But the heart of a casino is its games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette and other table games supply the billions of dollars in profits raked in by casinos each year.

Casinos are legal in most states. Some have been around for a long time, like Atlantic City and Las Vegas, while others are newer and more modern. Most states have laws regulating them, and there are even some that allow casinos on American Indian reservations.

The precise origin of gambling is unknown, but it’s generally believed that humans have always sought entertainment through games of chance. In fact, primitive proto-dice and carved six-sided dice have been found in some archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. Casinos as we know them now evolved in the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. During this period, Italian aristocrats hosted parties at venues called ridotti (republic of fools) where they could gamble and drink without worrying about the legal consequences.

In modern casinos, security starts on the floor. Dealers are trained to look for blatant cheating, such as palming or marking cards. Higher-ups watch tables with a broader view and note betting patterns that may indicate cheating. Cameras positioned throughout the casino give employees a high-tech eye-in-the-sky that can zoom in on suspicious patrons. The entire casino is wired to a central server, so statistical deviations are immediately noticeable.