A casino is a public place where a variety of games of chance can be played. While musical shows, shopping centers, lighted fountains, and extravagant hotels help attract patrons, casinos would not exist without the billions of dollars in gambling profits they rake in every year. Games of chance such as slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat, and poker contribute the most to this revenue, but a wide range of other games is offered.

Because large amounts of money change hands in a casino, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal. To combat this, casinos employ a variety of security measures. For example, betting chips have built-in microcircuitry to allow the casino to monitor each wager minute by minute; roulette wheels are electronically monitored for statistical deviations from the expected results; and a computer system called “eye in the sky” allows security personnel to watch all areas of the casino simultaneously.

In the past, mobster owners controlled many of the world’s casinos, but federal crackdowns and the threat of losing a gaming license at the slightest hint of mafia involvement have forced these criminal entities out of business. In the twenty-first century, casino ownership has been consolidated among hotel chains, real estate investors, and even some families. Besides gambling, most casinos offer restaurants, bars, non-gambling entertainment venues, and other amenities. They also cater to high rollers, offering them special rooms for playing their favorite games with higher stakes.