A casino is an establishment for gambling. Casinos are often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops and other tourist attractions. Some casinos host live entertainment. The term casino may also refer to a specific game or type of gambling. These examples are automatically selected from various online sources, and may not reflect the opinions of Merriam-Webster or its editors.
Although gambling has existed almost since the beginning of recorded history, the modern casino began in the 16th century as a place where Europeans could find a variety of gambling activities under one roof. Its origins are obscure, but probably stem from the emergence of a new form of dice, with carved six-sided ones replacing primitive protodice (cut knuckle bones). A casino is a type of house for games that involve chance, or skill.
While games such as blackjack, baccarat and poker involve some degree of player skill, the majority of casino games are pure chance. In most cases, the house has a mathematically determined advantage over players, which is known as the house edge. This is true even for the most popular casino game, slot machines. The player simply inserts money, pulls a handle or pushes a button, and watches the bands of colored shapes roll on the reels (actual physical reels or a video representation). If the right combination appears, the player wins a predetermined amount of money.
Because large sums of cash are handled within a casino, patrons and staff members may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. Therefore, casinos take many precautions to prevent this from occurring. Probably the most basic measure is the presence of security cameras. More elaborate systems include an “eye-in-the-sky” network of cameras that can be adjusted remotely and that can watch every table, window or doorway.