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The Casino is a modern version of the ancient gaming hall, with slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and other games offering the chance to win big money. While the casino business is very lucrative, it has its downside as well. Something about gambling, perhaps the presence of large amounts of cash, encourages people to cheat, steal or scam their way into a jackpot. That’s why casinos spend so much time, effort and money on security.

Casinos range from glitzy Las Vegas resorts to small card rooms in bars and restaurants. They are found in cities around the world, and are often incorporated into hotels or shopping centers. They also operate on barges, riverboats and racetracks.

A successful casino brings in billions of dollars every year for companies, investors and Native American tribes that own and operate them. It also brings in taxes and fees for local governments that host them. The average American adult who gambles at a casino is a forty-six-year-old woman from a household with an above-average income. That’s according to a 2005 study by Roper Reports GfK NOP and the U.S. Gaming Panel, which included face-to-face interviews with 2,000 adults.

The casino as we know it evolved in the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe. At that time wealthy Europeans would meet to gamble in places called ridotti, which were basically private clubs. Casinos grew out of this, with most countries legalizing them in the late 20th century.