A casino is a place where people can play games of chance. Although gambling probably predates recorded history – primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice have been found in archaeological sites – the modern casino as we know it didn’t emerge until the 16th century when a gaming craze swept Europe. In the early days, casinos were run by organized crime figures who had plenty of cash from drug dealing, extortion and other rackets. They took sole or partial ownership of many casinos and tampered with the results of some games.
Today’s casinos are massive mega-resorts that offer an astonishing array of games, beautiful decor and mindblowing amenities that make them worth a visit even for those who don’t gamble. Some have hotels, restaurants, non-gambling game rooms, bars, swimming pools and spas. Others boast catwalks in the ceiling above the casino floor that allow security personnel to look down, through one way glass, on activities at tables and slot machines.
While most of the world’s casinos are in Las Vegas, the elegant spa town of Baden-Baden in Germany has a casino that is more than a match for any on the Strip. Its red and gold decor was inspired by Versailles, and the casino draws royalty and aristocracy from across Europe. It also has a full range of casino table games, including baccarat, blackjack and trente et quarante, as well as a large poker room. It also features a lively sports book where patrons can flick coins on American football, soccer and boxing matches.