What Is a Casino?


A casino (also known as a gaming house, gambling house, or kasino) is an establishment for certain types of gambling. These establishments are often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, and other tourist attractions. They may also offer live entertainment, such as stand-up comedy, concerts, or sports events. Some casinos are operated by governments, while others are independent.

Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice appearing in the oldest archaeological sites. But the casino as a place where people could find many different ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century, when Europeans in particular developed a strong appetite for gambling. Italian aristocrats would hold private parties in their houses called ridotti where they played various games of chance with each other and occasionally even with foreign visitors [Source: Schwartz].

In the United States, casinos first gained popularity when Nevada legalized gambling in the 1950s. As more states passed laws permitting gambling, the casinos located in Nevada and Atlantic City became famous destinations for travelers from around the world.

Because of the large amounts of money handled within a casino, both patrons and employees may be tempted to cheat or steal. To counter this, most casinos employ numerous security measures. These include cameras located throughout the casino, which are monitored in a room filled with banks of monitors and can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons.

Regardless of how skillful players may be at a particular casino game, the fact is that the house always has a built in advantage over the long run. This is the house edge, and it can range from very low to almost two percent. In games that allow for a skill element, the edge can be eliminated by players who are knowledgeable enough to apply optimal strategies. In these cases, the players are referred to as “advantage players.”

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