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What is a Casino?

A casino (also known as a gambling house or a gaming establishment) is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. Some casinos also offer restaurants and stage shows.

Casinos are typically heavily regulated and have a lot of security. Many casinos also offer free drinks and food to their patrons. These are commonly known as comps. Some casinos even have special rooms for high rollers who make large bets. These rooms often have more luxury amenities than the rest of the casino.

Most casino games have a built-in mathematical advantage for the house, which is called the house edge. In games where skill can influence the outcome, such as blackjack, the house advantage is smaller if the player follows basic strategy. In games where the house does not compete with the players, such as poker, it earns money via a commission, known as the rake.

In the late 1950s, organized crime figures began funding Reno and Las Vegas casinos in hopes of attracting more Americans to their seamy gambling dens. Mobster money infused the industry with a new level of sophistication and profitability, but also created problems such as the difficulty in getting legitimate businessmen to invest in the casinos due to their tainted image. Some gangsters became personally involved, taking full or partial ownership of casinos and attempting to control the games through intimidation and violence toward casino personnel.

The modern casino has become more sophisticated in its use of technology to monitor and regulate games. Video cameras constantly watch every table, window, and doorway. They can be adjusted to focus on certain suspicious patrons by security workers in a separate room filled with banks of security monitors.