What is a Casino?


A casino is a facility that houses a variety of gambling games. It also provides a wide range of services to its patrons such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows. The modern casino has evolved into an elaborate entertainment center that attracts tourists and high-rollers from around the world.

A gambling establishment must have adequate security to prevent cheating and theft by both patrons and staff. These measures can include a combination of cameras, computers, and sophisticated systems for overseeing the games themselves. In the case of table games, for example, betting chips have microcircuitry to allow the casino to see exactly how much is being wagered minute by minute, and roulette wheels are electronically monitored so that any statistical deviation can be quickly detected.

There are three general categories of casino games: gaming machines, table games, and random number games. Gaming machines, such as slot machines, are played by one or more players and do not require the involvement of a dealer. Table games, such as blackjack and craps, involve one or more players competing against the house, with the latter typically conducting the game through employees known as croupiers. Random number games, such as poker and video poker, are based on the selection of random numbers by the machine.

The origin of the word casino is obscure, but it probably derives from the Italian casa (“house”) and may be related to the Latin cassa (cottage, hut). It was first used in the 16th century, when a gambling craze spread throughout Europe. Italian aristocrats would gather in private parties called ridotti to play cards and dice.

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