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What Is a Casino?

What Is a Casino?


A casino is a place where people play various gambling games. It can also refer to a building that houses such establishments. A modern casino offers a wide variety of gaming options, including poker, blackjack, roulette and slot machines. Some casinos also feature stage shows and other entertainment. In some countries, casinos are legalized and regulated by government authorities.

Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and even carved six-sided dice found in the most ancient archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. However, the casino as an institution where people could find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century. This coincided with a gambling craze that swept Europe, and Italian aristocrats often held parties known as ridotti in which their guests could bet on a number of different games.

Casinos usually make money by taking a percentage of the total amount of bets placed by players. This is known as the house edge, and it is mathematically determined for each game. The house edge can be very small, lower than two percent, but it is enough to help casinos earn millions of dollars in profits every year.

Because of the large amounts of money involved, casinos have extensive security measures. They usually have a physical security force and specialized surveillance departments. Security staff monitor video cameras throughout the casino and respond to any suspicious activity. They also keep an eye on the patterns and routines of casino games, which can be helpful in detecting cheating or theft.