What Is a Casino?

A casino is a place where gamblers try their luck at games of chance. It is a place of glitzy lights, champagne glasses clinking and the smell of pure excitement. Casinos offer a variety of gambling activities including poker, blackjack, roulette, bingo and keno. They also have restaurants and entertainment. Casinos are found throughout the world but most are concentrated in Nevada and Atlantic City. Some states allow casinos on Native American reservations, which are not subject to state anti-gambling laws.

Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice being discovered at archaeological sites. However the casino as a place to find a wide variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not emerge until the 16th century, with Europeans visiting private gambling establishments called ridotti [Source: Schwartz]. In the United States casinos began appearing in the late 1960s and early 1970s when many states changed their laws to permit gambling.

While casinos are designed to entertain their patrons, they must protect their investments as well. Because money is changing hands frequently, casinos must be vigilant to cheating and theft by both patrons and staff. To counter this, casinos employ a range of security measures. Elaborate surveillance systems provide an eye-in-the-sky view of the entire casino and can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons. Security cameras monitor all doorways, windows and table changes. Roulette wheels are electronically monitored to detect any statistical deviations from their expected results.

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