A casino is a building where people can play games of chance for money. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette and craps are the games that provide the billions of dollars in profits raked in by casinos every year. Casinos also offer more sophisticated games such as poker and are home to the World Series of Poker.
The origin of gambling is uncertain, but it has been a popular entertainment in many societies throughout history. Casinos started out as public halls for music and dancing, but by the second half of the 19th century, they had begun to offer a variety of gambling activities.
Casinos have extensive security measures to prevent cheating and theft by patrons and employees. Basic measures include cameras located throughout the casino. More sophisticated measures include the use of eye-in-the-sky systems that monitor every table, window and doorway. These can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons by security workers in a room filled with banks of computer screens. Casinos also have security guards who patrol the floor and watch for blatantly obvious cheating methods such as palming, marking or switching dice.
The largest casinos feature thousands of slots and hundreds of table games. Some tables are set aside for high rollers or VIP players who want quieter sessions with a smaller group of friends. There are also many places to eat and drink, from swanky restaurant-bars to intimate lounges and nightclubs. Some casinos are even themed and designed to create a particular atmosphere. For example, The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas is designed to be sexy and uninhibited.