A casino is a building that allows people to gamble and play games of chance. While musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate hotels help draw in the crowds, casinos would not exist without the billions of dollars raked in every year from gambling machines like slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and baccarat.
While gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in ancient archaeological sites, the modern casino as a place where gamblers could find a variety of ways to bet under one roof did not appear until the 16th century. This was during a gambling craze that saw many Italian aristocrats hold private parties in houses known as ridotti, where they could play poker, dice and primitive card games. The government of Venice decided to open the world’s first government-sanctioned casino in 1638, bringing more order and public oversight to the industry.
While the popularity of gambling has made the casino business a huge money maker, mob involvement in the past made it dangerous for legitimate businesses to enter the market. Once real estate investors and hotel chains realized how much they could make from the business, mob control waned, and casinos began to grow into the giants that we know today. However, the dark side of casinos also remains a reality, with casinos sometimes being used as fronts for organized crime and human trafficking rings. In this article, we’ll look at what makes a casino so popular and how to stay safe when gambling online or in person.