A casino is a gambling establishment that offers games of chance to its patrons. Many casinos offer free spectacular entertainment, luxury hotel rooms and transportation and gourmet restaurants to lure big bettors. Some even reward good players with comps, which are free goods and services like restaurant food, drinks and show tickets.
The precise origin of gambling is unknown, but it is believed to have existed in almost every society. While modern casinos often use lighted fountains, elaborate themes and shopping centers to draw in the crowds, they would not exist without the games of chance themselves. These include poker, blackjack, baccarat, craps, roulette and slot machines. In addition to these traditional games, some casinos also feature Far Eastern games such as sic bo (which became popular in European and American casinos during the 1990s), fan-tan and pai gow.
Casinos typically employ a large number of security personnel to protect their customers from cheating and stealing. In the past, security staff was largely composed of guards standing watch at tables and machines, but modern casinos have dramatically increased their use of technology for game supervision. For example, betting chips have microcircuitry that interacts with electronic systems to enable casinos to monitor the exact amounts wagered minute by minute and to quickly discover any statistical deviation from expected results. Roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly to detect any statistical anomalies that may signal a bias in the wheel.
Some of the best casinos in America are found in Las Vegas, including the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, which scores a perfect 8.7, as well as the Tulalip Resort Casino, which scores 8.4. Other top-rated casinos include the Golden Nugget, in Atlantic City, and the Monte Carlo Casino, which is featured in the Ben Mezrich book Busting Vegas.