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What Is a Casino?

A casino is a place where people can find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof. While casinos have a wide range of other amenities to attract customers, such as restaurants, stage shows and dramatic scenery, they would not exist without games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, craps and other popular games provide the billions of dollars in profits that casinos rake in every year.

With so much money changing hands in a small space, both patrons and employees are tempted to cheat or steal. For this reason, casinos spend a large amount of time and effort on security. In addition to manned surveillance cameras, some casinos even have catwalks in the ceiling that allow security personnel to look down at each table and slot machine through one-way mirrors.

While gambling likely predates recorded history, the modern concept of a casino as an all-in-one venue did not develop until the 16th century. A gambling craze swept Europe at that time, and Italian aristocrats met in private clubs called ridotti to play games like dice, cards and keno. Because these places were technically illegal, they seldom bothered the police.

Casinos today offer high-stakes gambling in special rooms that are separate from the main floor. These high rollers often spend tens of thousands of dollars, and are the source of most casinos’ profit. They also receive comps, or free goods and services, such as hotel rooms, meals, tickets to shows and limo service. Comps are based on how much time and money a customer spends at the casino, as well as their level of play.