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What Is a Casino?

What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment that offers players the chance to win money by betting on games of chance. The games offered may include poker, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and slot machines. Although casinos often add luxuries like restaurants, free drinks and stage shows to attract customers, they would not exist without the games of chance.

Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found in ancient archaeological sites. The modern casino developed during the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. Italian aristocrats met in private gambling clubs called ridotti to enjoy the latest games, which were not subject to legal oversight.

Some casino games have a skill element, giving the player a chance to eliminate the inherent long-term disadvantage of the house (known as the “vig” or the “house edge”) and potentially turn a profit. This kind of advantage play is known as “advantage gambling.” In addition to skill, gamblers also use intuition and observing patterns to beat the house.

A casino’s security is of major concern, especially since large amounts of money are handled within its walls. Both patrons and employees may try to cheat, steal or scam their way into a winning hand. In order to prevent these activities, most casinos have multiple security measures in place. These range from cameras to a team of trained security personnel who are constantly watching the action to spot any suspicious activity.