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What Is a Casino?


A casino is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. It has become a popular tourist attraction, with cities such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City trying to attract visitors. Some casinos offer live dealers who deal cards, spin the roulette wheel and conduct other activities in real time. Other casinos use video streaming to allow players to bet on table games through an online interface.

Gambling likely predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice among the earliest archaeological finds. But the modern casino as we know it is a relatively recent development. The concept took hold in Europe during the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept the continent.

The first modern casinos focused on gambling as a tourist attraction. Resorts such as the Monte Carlo casino became famous worldwide. More recently, the casino industry has evolved into a more sophisticated business, focusing on high-volume, high-speed play at machine-based games. These machines generate more revenue in less time than a traditional game of chance and are easier to supervise.

Because of the large amounts of money that are handled, casino security is a major concern. Many modern casinos have a dedicated physical security force and a specialized surveillance department. They have both internal and external surveillance resources, including cameras that monitor the casino floor from catwalks above the gaming area (known as the eye in the sky). In addition, they often employ a variety of techniques to detect cheating and stealing by patrons and staff members. These include the use of “chip tracking,” which enables casinos to oversee the exact amount of betting chips on each game moment-by-moment, and the routine electronic monitoring of roulette wheels to discover any statistical deviation from their expected results.