What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment that offers various forms of chance-based entertainment, including slot machines, blackjack, poker and roulette. While musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers help draw in customers, the bulk of a casino’s profits come from games of chance. The precise origin of gambling is not known, but it can be traced back to ancient Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome, as well as the Napoleonic era and Elizabethan England.

Most casinos are built to resemble large palaces and feature a wealth of amenities for their guests. Aside from the standard table games and slot machines, many offer a variety of regional or traditional games. Asian casinos, for example, often feature Far Eastern games such as sic bo and fan-tan. Other popular games include baccarat, chemin de fer and pai-gow.

Because they handle large amounts of money, casinos must be vigilant about security. In addition to the obvious surveillance cameras, they employ a variety of other security measures. For example, dealers are trained to spot blatant cheating tactics such as palming and marking cards or dice. Likewise, pit bosses and table managers are expected to watch for betting patterns that could indicate cheating.

In order to attract customers, many casinos offer free goods and services (known as comps) to “good” gamblers. These may include hotel rooms, meals and drinks. Some also have special areas of the casino where high-rollers can place bets of tens of thousands of dollars.

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