What Is a Casino?


A casino is a large building where gambling games are played. It is typically equipped with gaming tables for card games and dice, as well as slot machines. Casinos also feature restaurants and bars. In some cases, they have theaters where rock, pop, and jazz artists perform for guests.

Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice appearing in the oldest archaeological sites. But the casino as a place for people to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze in Europe prompted many wealthy Italians to open private clubs called ridotti. The aristocracy quickly caught on, and the concept spread to other countries.

Casinos are usually designed to maximize the amount of money they make from each patron’s wagers. This is done by using a variety of strategies, such as lowering the house edge on certain games to attract small bettors and increasing it on others to draw big bettors. A casino’s advantage over players can be as high as 14 percent on some games, and as low as 1 percent or less in others.

Modern casinos use a combination of physical security forces and specialized surveillance departments to keep out criminals and cheaters. The surveillance department operates a system known as the “eye in the sky,” which uses cameras to monitor every table, window, and doorway. The camera systems can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons.

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