A casino is a building where people can gamble. The games played in casinos include roulette, blackjack, poker, craps, and slot machines. In most games, the house has a mathematical advantage over players, which is known as the house edge. Some games also have a small element of skill. This advantage is a key source of the billions of dollars in profits made by casinos every year.

While casinos offer elaborate entertainment, shopping centers, hotels, restaurants and other amenities to attract customers, they would not exist without the games of chance that provide the billions in revenue each year. The popularity of games like slots, blackjack and poker has given rise to new casino concepts. But not all are successful.

Casinos have a wide variety of security measures to keep patrons safe and prevent cheating. Pit bosses and table managers watch over table games and can spot blatant cheating such as palming, marking cards or switching dice. Casinos also have a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” surveillance system where security personnel can look directly down, through one-way glass, at each game table and slot machine.

When gambling first spread from Nevada to other states, mob figures were the main backers of casinos. But federal crackdowns on organized crime and the prospect of losing a license for a casino at even the slightest whiff of Mafia involvement have kept gangster money out of casinos in recent years. In addition, many casinos are owned by real estate investors and hotel chains that prefer the clean image of their businesses over the taint of illegal gambling operations.