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A Casino is a building where people can play games of chance. A casino is also where a gambler risks his or her money against the banker (also called the house). The casino earns money by tying up the bettors’ money for long periods of time, in exchange for a small percentage of winning bets. This is the casino’s profit, known as the vig. The percentage can be very small, less than two percent, but it adds up to millions of dollars in a casino’s annual earnings. This money allows casinos to build grandiose hotels, fountains and replicas of famous landmarks.

Gambling almost certainly predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found at many ancient archaeological sites. However, the casino as a place where patrons could find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not develop until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. Italian aristocrats would gather in private clubs called ridotti to gamble. Although the clubs were technically illegal, police did not bother them.

Casinos often try to lure gamblers in with free food, drink and other perks. These may include free hotel rooms, limo service and airline tickets for the big spenders. The exact rules vary from place to place, but a casino’s customer relations department can usually explain them.

Because large amounts of cash are handled within a casino, it is a tempting environment for cheating and theft. To prevent these crimes, casinos use a variety of security measures. For example, a casino is not allowed to display clocks, which might tempt gamblers to keep playing longer than they intend to. Instead, some casinos use bright and sometimes gaudy colors on the floor and walls to make gamblers concentrate harder and forget about time. In addition, elaborate surveillance systems allow staff to watch every table and every change window through banks of monitors on the ceiling.