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What Is a Casino?

What Is a Casino?

A casino (or gambling house) is a facility for certain types of gambling. Casinos are often built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops and/or cruise ships. They also may host live entertainment events such as concerts and stand-up comedy. In some countries, casinos are licensed and regulated by government authorities.

While gambling likely predates recorded history, the modern casino as we know it developed in the 16th century during a gambling craze among European aristocrats. These casinos, known as ridotti, offered a variety of gaming options, including dice and card games, but most importantly they provided an opportunity for high-society to get together and avoid the prying eyes of church officials.

Casinos expanded rapidly as Nevada legalized gambling in the 1950s. Then in the 1980s American Indian tribes began opening casinos, which were exempt from state antigambling laws. During the 1990s more states liberalized their laws to permit casinos, and many were built on or around existing Native American reservations.

While a casino’s primary mission is to make money from gamblers, it must also keep them happy and secure. That’s why casinos try to create a luxurious atmosphere, complete with carefully designed lighting and sounds. They also employ surveillance systems to watch players and spot suspicious behavior. But there’s also a more subtle way they keep their patrons safe, by relying on established patterns and routines. The way a dealer shuffles and deals cards, for example, follows a set order, so any deviation from that pattern sticks out like a sore thumb to security personnel.