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What is a Casino?

Casino, which also means gambling house, is the place where people play various games of chance and wager money. It has become a worldwide phenomenon, and some countries and regions are known for their casinos, including the fabled Las Vegas strip, Monaco’s Monte Carlo and Germany’s Baden Baden.

Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice appearing in archaeological sites. The casino as a place where people could find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof, however, didn’t emerge until the 16th century, when a gambling craze spread through Europe. Originally, casinos were private clubs for Italian aristocrats who hosted parties in places called ridotti [Source: Schwartz].

The term casino has come to include any building or room where gambling is permitted, but the modern casino adds luxuries like restaurants and free drinks to attract players. Some even feature stage shows and dramatic scenery.

Because of the large amount of cash handled within a casino, security measures are a necessity. Patrons may try to cheat or steal, either in collusion with other patrons or on their own, and casinos employ a wide range of methods to deter such behavior. For example, employees keep a close eye on game outcomes and look for betting patterns that might indicate cheating. In addition, windows and clocks are rare in casino buildings, so gamblers cannot be distracted by the passing of time or the ringing of bells.