A casino is a building or room where gambling activities take place. The modern casino adds luxuries like restaurants, free drinks, stage shows and dramatic scenery to attract gamblers. But even less extravagant venues that house a variety of gambling games would technically be called casinos.

A major way casinos make money is by allowing players to earn comps, or complimentary goods and services. These are based on how much time and money players spend at the casino. A player’s level of play determines whether he or she is eligible for certain comps, such as hotel rooms, meals, show tickets or even airline and limo service. Casinos often employ mathematicians and computer programmers to calculate the house edge and variance for each of their games.

Because of the large amount of currency handled within a casino, security is an important concern. Both patrons and employees may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. To deter such activity, casinos use a variety of security measures. These include cameras, the physical layout of the facility, and rules governing behavior. The number of casinos has increased steadily as more states legalize gambling. Nevada leads the pack, but other cities including Atlantic City and Chicago also claim a healthy share of casino revenue. However, some economists argue that the money spent by locals to patronize casinos offsets any economic gains. Additionally, studies indicate that compulsive gambling reduces overall community wealth.