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What Is a Casino?

A casino is a building or room where gambling activities take place. Casinos are most often associated with luxurious places that add a host of extras to attract gamblers, such as restaurants, free drinks, stage shows and dramatic scenery. But there are less-opulent casinos that would still qualify as such, such as a private home that hosts poker games.

Most casino games involve a significant element of luck and are designed such that the house has a mathematical advantage over players. This advantage is known as the house edge. In games where skill can be involved, such as blackjack and poker, the house takes a cut of the winnings, known as rake.

Casinos use a variety of security measures to prevent cheating and theft by patrons, either in collusion or by independent actions. Among the most common are cameras that monitor the entire casino floor and can be focused on particular suspicious activities. Casinos also use sophisticated electronic systems to supervise the games themselves; for example, in roulette, computer chips with built-in microcircuitry interact with electronic sensors that record minute-by-minute betting patterns and warn about any deviation from expected results.

The elegant spa town of Baden-Baden was a playground for Europe’s royalty and aristocracy 150 years ago, when it first opened its casino. Today, the casino is considered one of the most beautiful in the world, with baroque flourishes inside and out and around its plethora of blackjack and roulette tables and 130 slots.