A casino is a gambling establishment where patrons can gamble on various games of chance. Casinos can also offer food, drinks, and entertainment. Some casinos are world-famous for their luxurious settings and unique architecture. Others are known for their specialties like the Bellagio fountain show in Las Vegas or the Casino de Monte Carlo in Monaco.
In modern times, casinos have become highly sophisticated and use a variety of techniques to ensure fair play for all guests. Some of these techniques include security cameras throughout the casino, special chips with built-in microcircuitry that monitor betting patterns and alert casino employees to any suspicious activity, and electronic monitoring of roulette wheels to detect any statistical deviations from expected results.
Although gambling almost certainly predates recorded history (carved knuckle bones and dice from ancient archaeological sites have been found), the first modern casino didn’t open until the 16th century, when a craze for gambling swept Europe. Italian aristocrats would gather at private parties in places called ridotti to gamble and socialize, even though it was technically illegal.
Casinos continued to expand in the United States after WWII, when mob money flowed into Las Vegas. Unlike legit businessmen, mobsters were not afraid to get their hands dirty; they became personally involved in the casinos, took sole or partial ownership of many, and used intimidation to keep other mobster competitors out of the gaming business. Mob involvement was short-lived, however, as federal anti-mob laws and the fear of losing a license for their casinos resulted in legitimate businessmen buying out the mob interests.