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What is a Casino?

A Casino is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. While modern casinos may have lavish entertainment, shopping centers, restaurants and hotels to lure in the crowds, they would not exist without games of chance such as slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and baccarat.

The precise origin of gambling is unknown, but it has been an integral part of human culture for thousands of years. From ancient Mesopotamia and Rome to Napoleon’s France and Elizabethan England, gambling has been a part of the fabric of society in nearly every culture throughout history.

In the United States, casino gambling is legal in 40 states. Unlike the glamorous Las Vegas version that has become synonymous with casino-related entertainment, most casinos are smaller places that offer a variety of table and card games along with a wide range of video poker and slot machines.

Many of these casinos have adopted technology to assist in monitoring their patrons. Tables are equipped with cameras that monitor the amount of money being wagered minute-by-minute, while roulette wheels and dice have electronic systems that can quickly detect a statistical deviation that would indicate cheating. Casinos also give out free merchandise and services to frequent players, known as comps. These include free hotel rooms, meals, shows and even airline tickets for big spenders. A friend of mine who worked security at a casino once told me that he had to quit his job because he was so sick of seeing people stand in front of slot machines soiling themselves because they believed they were on a winning streak.