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What Is a Casino?

What Is a Casino?

A casino is a building or room where gambling games are played. Its existence is regulated by the law, and its services are usually licensed. There are several types of gambling games, and the most popular ones include roulette, blackjack, poker, baccarat, slot machines and craps. The gambling industry generates billions of dollars a year in revenue, and its profits are the source of wealth for many casinos.

Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved knuckle bones found in archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. But the casino as an institution came into being during the 16th century, when a craze for gaming swept Europe. The term is derived from the Italian word for a small clubhouse where wealthy members of society would gather to gamble, in places known as ridotti.

These days casinos are primarily entertainment venues, and they often include restaurants, shops and hotels. Many casinos feature musical shows, lighted fountains and elaborate themes. But it’s the games of chance that provide most of the billions in profit to the owners.

Most state laws require casinos to display responsible gambling information and contact details. These organizations can provide specialized support and counseling for problem gamblers. Casinos also take other precautions to prevent cheating and theft. Security cameras throughout the establishment help to monitor patrons and protect against intruders. Windows and clocks are rarely seen on the casino floor, as it allows players to stay engrossed in their gambling without being distracted by the passage of time.