A Casino, or gaming house, is a gambling establishment that offers games of chance. Although modern casinos add a host of other amenities to appeal to gamblers, such as restaurants, stage shows and shopping centers, gambling remains the primary source of profits for casinos. Slot machines, roulette, blackjack, poker and other games of chance generate billions in profits each year for the casino industry.
Though casinos are often associated with Las Vegas, the first legal gambling house in the United States was actually built in Monte Carlo, a principality of Monaco. Casinos are also found in other cities, including Atlantic City and Cincinnati, Ohio.
Casinos have a variety of security measures in place to prevent cheating and theft by patrons. For example, many casinos use special chips that contain microcircuitry to monitor betting patterns and alert security staff when a game is being tampered with. Many also employ a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” system that uses cameras to watch every table, window and doorway at the same time. These cameras can be adjusted to focus on specific suspicious patrons by security workers in a separate room filled with banks of security monitors.
The precise origin of gambling is unknown, but it is believed to have appeared in nearly every culture in the world at one point or another. Compulsive gambling contributes to the negative economic impact of casinos in some communities, where revenues from the industry outpace local investment and other sources of income, and the cost of treating problem gamblers and lost productivity outweigh any financial gains casinos may generate.