A casino is a place where you can gamble and win money, as well as spend time with your friends. The modern casino resembles an indoor amusement park for adults, with musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers drawing in the crowds, but games of chance such as slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and poker are what give casinos the billions in profits that they rake in each year.
The word casino has a long history, and it was once a popular pastime among the upper classes of Europe. But gambling was illegal in the United States for most of its history, and it took more than forty-seven years after Nevada legalized casinos for the nation to see them expand outside that state.
As the casino industry grew, technology became an important part of its operations. Today, video cameras are used for general security, and sophisticated computer systems allow casinos to keep an eye on the exact amount of money being wagered minute-by-minute, and quickly discover any statistical deviations from expected results. Roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly to discover any anomalies; and many casinos offer wholly automated versions of table games where players bet by pushing buttons.
In 2005, Harrah’s Entertainment reported that the typical casino gambler is a forty-six-year-old woman from a household with above-average income. That demographic, coupled with a desire to socialize and escape from the pressures of daily life, is what drives the growth of this business.