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What Is a Casino?

What Is a Casino?

A casino is a building that houses gambling activities. It offers a variety of games of chance, with an element of skill, and is regulated by government authorities. It may also offer dining, entertainment and meeting facilities. It is an important source of revenue for the city and state, as well as a popular tourist attraction.

Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in the earliest archaeological sites. But the modern casino as a place to find a wide range of ways to gamble under one roof didn’t develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe and Italian nobles held parties in small private gambling clubs called ridotti. Technically illegal, these places weren’t bothered by the Inquisition.

Modern casinos are elaborate and flashy, but the vast majority of their profits come from gambling. They draw people in with restaurants, free drinks, stage shows and dramatic scenery, but they would not exist without the games of chance. Slot machines, baccarat, blackjack, roulette and poker generate the bulk of the revenue.

Because of the large amounts of money handled within a casino, both patrons and staff can be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion with each other or independently. To counter this, casinos employ a number of security measures. For example, high-tech “eyes-in-the-sky” systems allow casino security personnel to monitor every table, window and doorway at the same time; chip tracking technologies let them oversee exactly how much is wagered minute by minute; and roulette wheels are electronically monitored for any statistical deviations from their expected results.