What is a Casino?

A casino is a facility for certain types of gambling. Modern casinos offer a wide variety of games and entertainment, including slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat, and poker. Many also include restaurants and shopping centers. Some even host live entertainment events such as musical shows, concerts, and stand-up comedy. Casinos make billions in profits each year, and attract visitors from all over the world.

Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found at archaeological sites. But the modern casino as an organized establishment offering a variety of gambling activities under one roof did not appear until the 16th century, when it spread from Italy to other parts of Europe in response to a gambling craze. These early casinos were often called ridotti, and they were favored by noblemen who enjoyed holding private parties there. [Source: Schwartz]

Modern casinos are very high-tech and use technology to control their operations. For example, in a “chip tracking” system, betting chips have built-in microcircuitry that allows them to be monitored minute by minute and alerted to any statistical deviation from their expected values; and roulette wheels are electronically scanned on a regular basis to discover any anomalies.

The typical casino gambler is a middle-aged woman from an upper-class family, with a college degree or higher and income slightly above the national average. According to a 2005 survey by the market research firm Roper Reports GfK NOP and the U.S. Gaming Panel by TNS, these people are also more likely to be heavy gamblers, with a preference for card games such as poker and blackjack.

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