What Is a Casino?

A casino is a place where various games of chance are played for money. It may include a variety of luxuries such as restaurants, stage shows and dramatic scenery, but the vast majority of its profits are generated by gambling. In 2008, about 24% of Americans reported having visited a casino in the previous year.

While gambling almost certainly predates written history, the concept of a place for people to find a wide variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the sixteenth century during a European fad for carved dice and knuckle bones. Modern casinos often feature multiple types of gambling, including slot machines and table games like baccarat, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno, and poker.

To make their casino environment appealing, many casinos use a lot of noise and bright lights to stimulate the senses and keep patrons entertained while they spend their money. For example, the lights in the casinos along the Las Vegas Strip are a sight to behold with more than 15,000 miles (24,000 km) of neon tubing lighting them up. The casinos also offer free drinks and food to encourage gambling, although alcoholic beverages are usually not served inside the gaming areas.

Security is another big consideration in casinos. While the dealers at table games can be trained to spot blatant cheating, more subtle changes in patterns are much harder to detect, so a casino must have high-tech surveillance systems to watch every square foot of their floors.

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