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What Is a Casino?

A Casino is a gambling establishment where a variety of games of chance can be played. While gambling is the primary activity, casinos also offer restaurants, free drinks, stage shows and high-end shops for patrons to spend their winnings. Although it is difficult to determine exactly when and where casino gambling first took place, there is evidence of it in many societies throughout history. The modern casino has its origins in the 1930s, when Nevada legalized gambling. Since then, it has been adopted by numerous states and is a major source of revenue for resort towns like Las Vegas.

In addition to the usual gambling games, some casinos feature far eastern table games such as sic bo, fan-tan and pai-gow. They also have poker rooms and a wide range of other card games, including baccarat (known as chemin de fer in the United Kingdom), blackjack and trente et quarante in France. Some even have games of local interest, such as two-up in Australia, boule in France and kalooki in Britain.

While casinos depend on the randomness of chance to generate profits, they employ a variety of other measures to limit their exposure to losses. For example, some casinos use electronic devices to monitor the amounts placed on tables minute by minute; others electronically monitor roulette wheels and other games for any statistical deviation from their expected results. They also reward frequent players with “comps” such as free hotel rooms, meals and tickets to shows.