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What is a Casino?

What is a Casino?

A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games of chance to patrons. It may also offer other forms of entertainment such as stage shows and dramatic scenery. While these amenities help draw people in, casinos would not exist without the games themselves. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, poker, craps, baccarat and other games of chance are the source of billions in profits raked in by casinos every year.

A modern casino typically features a combination of physical security forces and specialized surveillance departments. The latter employ cameras whose video feeds are stored on computer servers, allowing surveillance workers to view the entire casino floor at once. These surveillance systems are referred to as “eye in the sky” and are often used to detect cheating, theft and other suspicious activity.

The etymology of the word casino is rooted in Italian, where it was once synonymous with a villa or summer house. Casinos are a form of entertainment for the wealthy, and they have been found in ancient Mesopotamia, Greece and Roman Egypt, as well as Napoleon’s France, Elizabethan England and Victorian-era Britain.

Casinos make money by reducing their advantage over the average bettors, known as the house edge. Because the edge is fixed for all games, a casino can only lose money when it takes in more bets than it can afford to pay out. This virtual assurance of gross profit allows casinos to offer big bettors extravagant inducements such as free spectacular entertainment and transportation, reduced-fare hotel rooms and fine living quarters.