What is a Casino?


A casino, also known as a gaming hall or gambling establishment, is a building or room where people play games of chance for money. Originally, the term casino referred to a public hall for music and dancing; by the second half of the 19th century, it came to mean a collection of gaming or gambling rooms. The classic example is that of Monte-Carlo, which opened in 1863.

Most casino games have mathematically determined odds that give the house a permanent edge over players, which is called the house edge or expected value. The house edge is especially important in table games, where it applies to all bets placed on the game. Some table games, such as blackjack, have an element of skill, but others do not.

Historically, casinos have been a magnet for organized crime, which supplied the capital and manipulated the results to its own advantage. Mob figures often took sole or partial ownership of a casino and staffed the tables with their henchmen. They often controlled the security forces that patrolled and monitored the casino’s gaming floors.

Modern casinos are heavily reliant on technology. During the 1990s, casinos greatly increased their use of video cameras for general surveillance and to supervise table games. Casinos also use computerized systems to monitor the amount of money being wagered minute-by-minute and to alert staff if a wager exceeds any expected average. They may also use “chip tracking” to track winnings and losses, or completely automated roulette wheels that allow players to place their bets by pushing buttons.

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