Casinos have evolved from their early days as simple gambling halls. Today’s casinos include a wide range of amenities to attract gamblers and non-gamblers alike. They offer restaurants, hotel rooms and stage shows in addition to the traditional tables and slot machines. Some even feature sports betting facilities. Despite all this, gambling remains the main attraction for most people who visit them.
While gambling has probably existed since the beginning of recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in archaeological sites, it didn’t become a widespread hobby until the 16th century, when the craze for baccarat, chemin de fer, blackjack and trente et quarante swept Europe. During this time, aristocrats and wealthy Italian families would hold private parties at venues called ridotti (small clubhouses). These were not technically casinos, but they became the place where most people found a variety of ways to gamble under one roof.
Gambling in the United States began to grow rapidly after the 1970s, when American Indian reservations and other land-based gambling operations began to open on a number of states that had banned the practice. Atlantic City, New Jersey, became a popular destination for people from across the country and the world, and the popularity of the casinos spread from there.
Something about the presence of large amounts of money seems to encourage people to cheat, bribe and scam their way into winning a jackpot. That is why casinos invest a great deal of time and effort in security. Elaborate surveillance systems include cameras on catwalks in the ceiling that allow security workers to look down directly, through one-way glass, on the tables and slot machines.