A Casino is a gambling establishment that offers a wide range of entertainment and games to its patrons. These games include slot machines, black jack, roulette, craps and keno. These gambling-related activities generate billions of dollars in profit every year for casinos.
Casinos are often a major tourist attraction in their own right. They may feature spectacular decor, high-class restaurants and world-class spas. Many also offer high-octane entertainment like Cirque du Soleil. Casinos may be found in cities as diverse as Las Vegas, Macau and Monte Carlo.
Modern casinos rely heavily on technology to ensure that the games are fair. Besides the obvious use of video cameras for security purposes, some casinos also employ sophisticated systems to monitor the games themselves. For example, some betting chips have built-in microcircuitry that allows the casino to oversee exactly how much money is being wagered minute by minute, and roulette wheels are electronically monitored to discover any statistical deviations from their expected results.
While it is possible that gambling might have existed in some form since the beginning of human history, its modern-day incarnation as a recreational activity began in the 16th century with a gambling craze that swept Europe. In the United States, casinos grew to be popular after they were legalized in Nevada in the 1950s. At the time, legitimate businessmen were reluctant to invest in casinos because of their association with organized crime and mobsters. But Mafia bosses had plenty of cash from their drug dealing and extortion rackets, and they became heavily involved in the casinos, taking sole or partial ownership and even influencing the outcome of some games.