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What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment that features a variety of games of chance. The most common games include slots, baccarat, blackjack, craps and roulette. Some casinos also offer video poker and other skill-based games. Casinos are popular with tourists and can be found all over the world. Many of them are located in hotels and other luxurious facilities.

Something about the glitz, glamour and money that are associated with casino gambling encourages cheating and fraud. This is why casinos spend a lot of time, effort and money on security. Cameras and computer monitors keep an eye on the games and patrons from every angle. Elaborate surveillance systems like “eye-in-the-sky” allow security staff to watch each table, window and doorway simultaneously. Each table game has a pit boss or manager who watches the action closely, watching for blatant cheating such as palming, marking or switching cards and dice. Casinos are also heavily regulated to ensure that they are not unfairly giving people an advantage over the house.

The first modern casinos were founded in the 16th century when a gambling craze swept Europe. While gambling likely existed before this time, the idea of a place where people could find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until then. The word “casino” comes from Italian, where it denoted a private clubhouse for the upper class known as a ridotto [Source: Schwartz]. Aristocratic nobles would meet in these places to play card and dice games while drinking wine. As public gambling houses were closed, these clubs became more common in urban areas and the name “casino” took on a more universal meaning.