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A casino is a building where gambling activities take place. Unlike the smoky, smoke-filled casinos of Las Vegas, some have a more elegant style and provide food and entertainment to lure patrons. These luxuries may include restaurants, stage shows and dramatic scenery. A casino can also offer a wide variety of games, from poker to roulette and even video poker.

While gambling likely predates written history, the modern casino as a place for people to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof probably did not develop until the 16th century during a gambling craze in Europe. Rich Italian nobles would gather at private clubs called ridotti to gamble and socialize. Gambling was illegal in Italy at the time, but these clubs were rarely bothered by legal authorities.

Security at a casino starts on the floor, where dealers keep an eye on their own tables to ensure that everything goes as it should. They can quickly spot blatant cheating, such as palming, marking and switching dice or cards. The same is true of table managers and pit bosses.

But a casino can also use elaborate technology to monitor the games and watch for suspicious behavior. For example, some slot machines are wired to a computer that can instantly detect any statistical deviation from the expected value of a machine. These data are recorded and kept, so if a problem occurs, it can be analyzed afterward to identify the culprit.