When most people think of a Casino they picture one of the megaresorts that line the Las Vegas strip, blazing with neon and packed with fun and games. However, Merriam-Webster’s definition of a Casino is actually much broader, referring to any building or room that is used for social amusements and gambling, including card games, dice games, bingo and betting on sports/racing events. While many casinos fit the Vegas image, they are also found in other areas of the country and world, as well as on American Indian reservations.

While the exact origins of gambling are unknown, it is believed that in almost every culture there has been some form of gaming for entertainment. From Ancient Mesopotamia and Greece to Napoleon’s France and Elizabethan England, gambling has remained popular throughout history.

As with any business that handles large sums of money, a Casino is prone to the possibility of cheating and theft by patrons and employees. To combat this, most casinos use a variety of security measures. For example, most table games have pit bosses or managers keeping a close eye on the players, watching for hints of palming and marking cards. In addition, elaborate surveillance systems give a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” view of all activity, adjustable by security workers in a separate room filled with banks of monitors.

In addition to security, casinos attempt to lure gamblers with a host of comps. Good bettors are given free hotel rooms, food, tickets to shows and even limo service or airline tickets depending on the amount of time they play and the size of their wagers.