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A casino is a place where you can bet your hard-earned money on games of chance. Whether you’re looking to try your hand at the roulette wheel or a blackjack table, casinos around the world offer opulent suites, spas and fine dining, and some are even home to huge jackpots.

Gambling predates recorded history, with primitive proto-dice and carved six-sided dice found in the oldest archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. The modern casino began to develop in Europe during the 16th century when a gambling craze swept across Italy. Venice’s government authorized the opening of the Ridotto, the first government-sanctioned gambling house, offering primitive card games and food to its clientele.

The modern casino uses sophisticated security measures to keep patrons safe and honest. Dealers watch their tables closely and can quickly spot blatant cheating such as palming, marking, or switching cards or dice. Elaborate “eye-in-the-sky” surveillance systems give security workers a bird’s eye view of the entire casino and can be adjusted to focus on specific patrons. Slot machine payouts are determined by computer chips in the machines, which are monitored and regulated by people in a separate room filled with banks of security monitors.

Most of the world’s most luxurious casinos are in Las Vegas, with their glamorous decor and mindblowing selection of games. But casinos can be found worldwide, including China, Monaco and Singapore. Some even have hotels and non-gambling attractions like restaurants, bars and swimming pools to make them enticing to the whole family.