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What is a Casino?

A casino, or gambling establishment, is a place where various games of chance can be played for money. It may be called a gaming hall or simply a gambling place, but it also can have more luxurious amenities such as restaurants and stage shows. The term is often used in the United States to refer specifically to a building where poker, blackjack and other table games are played. However, the term can also be used to describe a place that offers other kinds of gambling such as slot machines.

A modern casino generally has multiple levels with multiple games on each level. The floor is often carpeted, and lighting is designed to create an opulent, exciting atmosphere. In addition to the typical table and card games, most casinos also offer a variety of slot machines.

Gambling in some form predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found at ancient archaeological sites. But the concept of a single facility where people could find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century when a gambling craze swept Europe and Italian aristocrats formed private clubs known as ridotti to enjoy their hobby.

While legitimate businessmen were reluctant to invest in casinos because of their seamy image, organized crime figures saw the potential and pumped millions into Reno and Las Vegas. Some mobsters even took sole or partial ownership of certain casinos and exerted influence over the outcome of games by threatening or intimidating casino employees. In the 1990s, casinos greatly increased their use of technology for security and game supervision. Video cameras monitor tables and cards for tampering, and computer systems allow pit bosses and managers to oversee table games minute by minute and spot any statistical deviation from expected results.