Casino (plural: casinos) is a place where people gamble on games of chance. The term may also refer to a gambling establishment or an organization that oversees and controls such places. Casinos offer a variety of gambling activities, including blackjack, baccarat, roulette, and poker. Some casinos are large and open, with many tables and slot machines; others are smaller and more intimate. Most casinos have bars and restaurants.

While casino gambling depends on luck, there is a degree of skill involved in some games. In addition, the house has built-in advantages that guarantee it a profit, known as the “house edge.” This is a mathematical expectation that the average player will lose money on any particular game.

To guard against cheating, a casino is equipped with sophisticated surveillance systems. The most common surveillance technology is video cameras. These are often located in concealed locations or on catwalks above the casino floor, allowing security personnel to see patrons through one-way mirrors. In modern times, some casinos use high-tech surveillance, such as chip tracking systems that record and report the exact amounts of bets placed minute by minute; and computerized monitoring of roulette wheels to discover statistical deviations.

Casinos attract customers by advertising and offering perks designed to increase their spending. These include free shows, buffets, and hotel rooms. They also provide low-cost drinks and cigarettes, which stimulate the gamblers’ addiction to gambling. Many casinos are located in cities that are best known for their gambling, such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City. In some states, casinos are licensed and regulated by state governments; in others, they operate as private businesses.