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What Is a Casino?

What Is a Casino?

A casino, also called a gaming house or simply a gambling establishment, is an establishment where people can play various types of games of chance. These games include keno, bingo, blackjack, poker, roulette, craps, and various slot machines. Casinos may also offer other forms of entertainment, such as live music and comedy shows. In the United States, casinos are most commonly found in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. However, they can also be found in riverboats, on American Indian reservations, and at some racetracks and truckstops.

Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones) and carved six-sided dice appearing in archaeological sites around the world. The modern casino developed in Europe as a way to organize several different kinds of gambling under one roof. In the 16th century, Italian aristocrats held social occasions in private gambling houses called ridotti [Source: Schwartz].

Casino patrons can be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion with each other or on their own. To prevent this, most casinos employ security measures, such as video surveillance. The large amounts of currency handled by a casino make it attractive to criminals, and as such, casinos have to implement rigorous anti-theft measures.

Casinos must ensure that they will earn a profit by calculating the expected value of each game and comparing it to the bets placed on the game. This work is done by specialized mathematicians and computer programmers known as gaming mathematicians or gaming analysts.