A casino is a place where gambling games of chance are played. The term is used primarily in the United States and Canada, but also applies to establishments in other countries that are licensed by national or provincial governments to operate casinos. Many casinos offer a variety of gambling games, including blackjack, roulette, and poker, and are known for their high payouts. They are often located in the heart of major cities, and provide entertainment and lodging to tourists.

Something about the existence of large sums of money seems to encourage people to cheat, steal and scam their way into a jackpot, which is why casinos spend an enormous amount of time, effort and money on security. Modern casinos are almost always patrolled by a physical security force and have specialized departments that monitor the casino’s closed circuit television system, sometimes called an “eye in the sky.” Computerized systems allow casinos to oversee betting chips with built-in microcircuitry minute by minute and warn them about any anomalies; likewise, roulette wheels are electronically monitored to discover any statistical deviation from their expected results.

Every casino game has a built-in advantage for the house, which allows them to make a gross profit (known as the “house edge”) from each bet placed by patrons. This virtual guarantee of a net profit is what allows casinos to lavish their bigger bettors with extravagant inducements like free show tickets, hotel rooms and even limo service and airline tickets.