Casinos are gambling establishments where people bet money on games of chance or skill, including poker, baccarat, blackjack and video poker. Each game has a built-in advantage for the house, which can be lower than two percent of every bet placed by patrons. This advantage, called the house edge, is how casinos make their money.

In addition to their profits from the house edge, casinos often charge a fee for players called the vig or rake, and they also collect tax revenue from slot machines. Some casinos offer complimentary items to high rollers, known as comps, which may include hotel rooms, meals and show tickets or even limo service and airline tickets. This is how a casino rewards its best customers, but it can be very dangerous to someone who suffers from a gambling addiction.

Because large amounts of cash are handled within a casino, security is a major concern. Security workers can monitor patrons on a series of cameras throughout the building and can watch each table, change window or doorway. Each table also has a pit boss or manager who keeps an eye on the players and watches for betting patterns that might signal cheating.

The idea of a casino as a glamorous playground for the rich and famous first took hold after Europeans discovered the pleasures of playing with primitive dice, cut knuckle bones and carved six-sided dice in ancient archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. Today’s casinos use dazzling lighting and joyful music to create a manufactured experience that encourages gamblers to stay longer and play more.

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