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What Is a Casino?


A Casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games of chance. While musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and lavish hotels all contribute to a casino’s profits, the vast majority of its revenue still comes from games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and other games provide the billions in profits that casinos rake in each year.

Gambling probably predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found at archaeological sites. But the casino as a place where people could find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof didn’t develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. Italian aristocrats held parties at “ridotti,” or private clubs where they could play cards and roll the dice in privacy. This was technically illegal, but the aristocrats rarely got bothered by the Italian Inquisition.

Casinos make money by charging a small percentage of each bet. This can be as little as two percent, depending on the game and how much of a bet is placed. This small percentage adds up over time, giving a casino enough profit to build elaborate hotels, lighted fountains and replicas of famous landmarks.

Something about gambling (probably the possibility of large sums of money) seems to encourage cheating, theft and other forms of deception. This is why casinos invest a great deal of time, effort and money on security. Elaborate surveillance systems provide an eye-in-the-sky view of every table, window and doorway, and can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons. Security also works on more subtle levels, such as the way players act at different tables or how dealers shuffle and deal cards. These patterns and routines make it easier for casino security workers to spot out-of-the-ordinary behavior.