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What is a Casino?


A Casino (also known as a gambling house or a gaming hall) is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Often casinos are built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, cruise ships or other tourist attractions. Casinos are also renowned for their live entertainment offerings of music, dance and stand-up comedy.

Although gambling likely predates recorded history, the modern casino began to develop in the 16th century as a social gathering place during a gambling craze in Europe. The first casino was built in the city of Monte Carlo, on the French Riviera. Other famous European casinos include those in Estoril, Portugal; Corfu, Greece; and Baden-Baden and Bad Homburg von der Hohe, Germany.

The modern casino relies on the psychological effects of lights, sounds and smells to create an appealing atmosphere to gamblers. The sounds of dice clinking in a table game or the bells of slot machines are designed to attract attention and create excitement. The scent of a cigar or the taste of fried foods wafts through the air. In addition, elaborate surveillance systems provide a high-tech eye-in-the-sky that allows security workers to monitor the entire casino floor at once.

In the 21st century, casinos have become choosier about who they allow to gamble in their facilities. They seek out large gamblers, who are referred to as high rollers, and provide them with special accommodations and perks that encourage them to play for long periods of time. These perks, called comps, can include free hotel rooms, meals, show tickets and even limo service and airline tickets. Because these high rollers generate a substantial portion of the revenue for a casino, they are considered the lifeblood of the business.