A casino is a gambling establishment with the primary goal of earning billions in profits each year from people willing to risk their money in games of chance. While a casino may offer other entertainment such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows, it’s the gambling that brings in the money.

Gambling has existed for centuries in one form or another, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice among the oldest archaeological finds. But the concept of a casino as a place where patrons could find a wide variety of gambling activities under one roof did not develop until the 16th century when a gambling craze swept Europe and wealthy people established private clubs called ridotti to host their games of chance.

Modern casinos are often large complexes with several floors of gambling rooms and an assortment of other entertainment venues such as bars and restaurants. They are often heavily staffed with security personnel to keep an eye on the games and patrons. Security is typically divided between a physical security force that patrols the premises and a specialized surveillance department that oversees the casino’s closed circuit television system, often referred to as “the eye in the sky.”

Casinos depend on people to gamble, but the thrill of winning a jackpot can also motivate some players to cheat or steal. A childhood friend of mine worked security at a casino in Atlantic City and had to quit after only three months because he was sick of seeing people stand at slot machines soiling themselves in their attempt to get lucky.