A casino is a gambling house, where people can gamble on games of chance or skill. Many casinos offer a variety of games and are often located near hotels, resorts, restaurants and other tourist attractions. Some casinos also host live entertainment. The term “casino” is also used as a generic name for any establishment that offers a wide range of gambling activities.

Security in a casino starts on the floor, where employees keep their eyes on the tables and patrons to make sure everything goes as it should. Dealers watch for blatant cheating, such as palming cards or marking dice. Table managers and pit bosses have a broader view, making sure patrons aren’t stealing from each other and looking for betting patterns that might indicate cheating. Casinos have cameras in every room. Each employee also has a “higher-up” who tracks them as they work, noting their performance and noting if they are winning or losing.

The house edge in casino games can be very small, usually less than two percent, but it adds up over time as patrons place millions of bets. This profit, which is sometimes called the vig or rake, earns the casino enough money to build flamboyant hotels, fountains, towers and replicas of famous landmarks.

Before the 1950s, casinos were primarily run by organized crime figures with their own cash from drug dealing and extortion. But as the casino business boomed, legitimate investors with deep pockets bought out the mobsters and swept in to take control. Casinos are now owned by hotel chains, real estate investors and even by some of the world’s richest people.