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What Is a Casino?


A casino is a place where people can play games of chance. Modern casinos provide gambling facilities such as blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and slot machines. They also feature live entertainment, top-notch hotels, restaurants and other amenities. The most famous casino is the Bellagio in Las Vegas, but there are many others. Some are built for luxury, such as the Casino de Monte-Carlo in Monaco. Others are known for their gambling, such as the MGM Grand on the Las Vegas Strip.

The first casino was probably a small clubhouse for Italian gentlemen who wanted to gamble during social gatherings, but the name evolved into something more generic and the idea spread throughout Europe as a result of a gambling craze that took hold in the 16th century [Source: Schwartz]. The American version of the casino began appearing on Indian reservations in the 1980s and continues to grow in popularity today.

Casinos are places where large amounts of money change hands, so there is a temptation for cheating and theft. This is why most of them spend a lot of money on security measures. These include cameras placed throughout the casino that monitor every table, window and doorway. The cameras are watched by security personnel, who can quickly focus on suspicious patrons and watch their movements in real time.

Casinos also make their profits by charging a percentage of the bets that are placed in their games. The amount varies, but it is usually in the range of two percent. This is often called the “vig,” and it provides enough of an advantage to make the casino profitable. Nevertheless, the vast majority of the money that passes through a casino’s doors is lost by gamblers. This fact, along with the negative impact on local property values and the cost of treating compulsive gamblers, has led many to argue that casinos are not a good thing for communities.