The Casino – The Gambling Craze
The precise origin of gambling is not clear, but primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice found in some of the world’s oldest archaeological sites suggest that people have been gambling for thousands of years. The casino as a place where people could find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof developed in the 16th century during a gambling craze that swept Europe. It evolved from Italian aristocratic clubs called ridotti, where people came to play games of chance and enjoy music and dance.
Today’s casinos feature a variety of games of chance, some with an element of skill, such as roulette, craps, blackjack and poker. They also include a number of traditional Far Eastern games, including sic bo (which is popular in Australia), fan-tan and pai gow. Many casinos have large numbers of slot machines, which generally require only small bets and pay out a high percentage of the money wagered.
Something about the presence of large amounts of money encourages people to cheat and steal, either in collusion with each other or independently. That is why casinos spend a lot of time and money on security. In addition to visible cameras and staff patrolling the premises, a casino’s routines and patterns make it easy for security personnel to spot anything out of the ordinary. Casinos are often criticized for shifting spending from other forms of entertainment to gambling and then draining local economies through the cost of treating compulsive gamblers and lost productivity.