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What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment that offers an array of games of chance. Some casinos offer restaurants, free drinks and stage shows to entice gamblers to play. A casino may be licensed by the state in which it is located or may be a private business that is not. It must have a minimum number of gaming tables and meet certain requirements to be called a casino. Some casinos also offer comps to their big spenders, offering them items like hotel rooms and meals, tickets to shows, or airline flights.

The precise origins of gambling are unknown, but it is generally believed that it has been an important part of every society throughout history. Gambling in some form is believed to have existed in ancient Mesopotamia, the Greeks and Romans, and Napoleon’s France and Elizabethan England. The modern casino as a place where patrons can find many types of gambling under one roof began to develop in the 16th century, during a time when a gambling craze swept Europe.

Because large amounts of money are handled within a casino, security is an important consideration. In addition to the basic security measures of cameras located throughout a casino, some casinos have more elaborate surveillance systems. These include eye-in-the-sky cameras that allow security workers to watch the entire casino floor at once and adjust the camera’s focus on specific suspicious patrons. Elaborate computer systems are used to monitor the table games, too, in order to detect cheating and fraud. In some cases, the chips on the table have built-in microcircuitry that enables casino personnel to monitor the exact amount wagered minute by minute and alert them quickly to any statistical deviation from expected results.