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What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment that offers games of chance. It may also offer food and drinks, entertainment, hotel rooms, and other non-gambling amenities. Casinos can be massive resorts or small, intimate places that cater to a few hundred patrons. Some casinos specialize in a specific type of game or a particular theme. Others boast impressive size, beautiful decor, and a mindblowing number of different gaming options.

While musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers, and lavish hotels help draw in the crowds, casinos wouldn’t exist without the billions of dollars they rake in from gambling. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, and other games of chance generate the majority of casino profits.

Gambling has a long and varied history. Primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice have been found in archaeological digs, but the modern casino didn’t develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. At that time, European aristocrats would hold private parties at venues called ridotti to gamble, drink, and socialize without worrying about legal trouble from the inquisition.

Today, casino security is a combination of a physical force and a specialized surveillance department. The physical force patrols the casino and responds to calls for assistance or reports of suspicious activity. The specialized department monitors the casino’s closed circuit television system, or “eye in the sky,” to identify potential crime and keep an eye on players and staff. Casinos also use technology to control the games themselves, such as using a “chip tracking” system to ensure betting chips are actually being used at each table and to warn dealers of suspicious patterns.