A casino is a place where people can play gambling games like blackjack, craps, poker, roulette and slot machines. Some casinos offer a variety of other entertainment options as well, such as restaurants, theaters and stage shows. Casinos also have security forces that protect their patrons and property. Modern casinos usually have two separate departments for security: a physical security force that patrols the floor, and a specialized surveillance department that operates the casino’s closed circuit television system (the “eye in the sky”).
Casinos make their money by charging a small percentage of each bet to cover overhead expenses and give the house a profit. This is known as the vig or the rake. The advantage is often lower than two percent, but it adds up over the millions of bets placed in a single casino. It also allows the casino to build elaborate hotels, fountains and replicas of famous landmarks.
There are many theories as to the origin of gambling, but it is generally accepted that it has been around for thousands of years in one form or another. In modern times, it is almost impossible to imagine a major city that does not have a casino and some form of gambling. The elegant spa town of Baden-Baden first became a playground for wealthy Europeans 150 years ago, and today its casino is the most beautiful on this list. Unlike the simpler, less lavish places that once housed gambling activities, modern casinos are built to be aesthetically pleasing as well as safe and fair for their patrons.