Whether you’re trying your luck with slots, laying it all down on the roulette wheel, or throwing dice at the craps table, a casino is the perfect place to satisfy your gambling itch. Fortunately, casinos offer much more than just a chance to win some money; most of them have shows, great food, and even spas!
Casinos are found in every corner of the world, from massive resorts in Las Vegas to small card rooms in barracks and truck stops. And the games themselves are as varied as the gamblers who play them. Casinos make billions each year for their owners, investors, and tenants—including the companies that design and build them—as well as for state and local governments that collect taxes and fees.
While some casino buildings date back centuries, the modern casino is a relatively recent development. By the second half of the 19th century, when European countries began liberalizing their laws to permit gambling, many cities built casinos to lure visitors. The elegant spa town of Baden-Baden, for instance, built one that was so beautiful that German actress Marlene Dietrich declared it the best in the world. In the United States, however, legalized casino gambling didn’t occur until Nevada changed its laws in 1969. Once that happened, other states quickly followed suit and now the number of casinos is booming. Casinos have also dramatically increased their use of technology—video cameras monitor the action to spot cheating, and tables have special chips with microcircuitry that allow the casinos to oversee the amount bet minute by minute.