A casino is a gambling establishment where customers gamble by playing games of chance. Some casinos include elements of skill, such as those that offer baccarat and blackjack, but the vast majority are games of pure chance. Casinos earn money by charging a commission on the bets made by players. This is called the vig or the rake. Some casinos also give out complimentary items or comps to gamblers. In general, the house has a mathematically determined advantage over the player; this is known as the house edge.
Modern casino security consists of a physical force that patrols the gaming floor, and a specialized surveillance department that monitors the activities of guests and employees using closed circuit television (CCTV), sometimes nicknamed an “eye in the sky”. These departments work closely together to ensure that the casino is free from any suspicious or definite criminal activity. In addition, the patterns of behavior that are expected in different casino games can help security personnel spot unusual behavior.
The etymology of the word casino can be traced back to Italy, where it originally meant a small villa or summerhouse, or even a social club. Later it came to be associated with various pleasurable activities, especially those involving gambling.
The casino industry is a major source of employment worldwide. Its diversified business operations include hotel, dining and entertainment. In addition, casino companies often invest in research and development. They may also contribute to the economy of a region by creating new jobs and by increasing tourism. However, critics argue that the net effect of a casino can be negative for the local community, due to the shift in spending away from other forms of entertainment and the cost of treating problem gambling.