The precise origin of gambling is unknown. Prehistoric proto-dice and carved six-sided dice are found in many archaeological sites, but the casino as a venue for gaming did not develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. In that period, European aristocrats frequently held private parties called ridotti (from Italian for “room” or “cabin”) to gamble and socialize without the attention of government regulators.
The modern casino relies heavily on technology for security and supervision of games. Elaborate surveillance systems provide a high-tech “eye in the sky” that enables security personnel to monitor every table, window and doorway from a room filled with banks of monitors. Security cameras can be adjusted to focus on specific patrons, and their video feeds are constantly recorded so that any suspicious activity can be reviewed after the fact. In addition, electronic systems that track betting chips or roulette wheels enable casinos to oversee the exact amount of money wagered minute-by-minute and immediately detect any statistical deviation from expected results.
Gambling is a huge business and attracts people from all walks of life. Whether they are looking to win big or just try their luck, Americans have a wide variety of land-based and online casino choices. And the United States is one of the best countries in the world to satisfy a gambling urge, thanks to its many legal and regulated gambling establishments. Use the map below to find a casino near you, or check out my list of the best land-based casinos in America.