A casino is a place where people can play gambling games. The games played at casinos are usually of chance, although some have a skill element. The most common games are slot machines, blackjack, roulette, poker and craps. Some casinos also offer Far Eastern games such as sic bo (which spread to European and American casinos in the 1990s) and fan-tan.
Casinos are businesses and must make a profit. In addition to the usual profits from gaming, they also collect a fee from the players called the house edge or expected value. This advantage is built into the odds of each game, so that the house is guaranteed to win money in the long run, even if individual patrons lose their bets on any given day. Casinos often reward loyal patrons with free hotel rooms, meals, shows and even limo service and airline tickets. This is known as comping.
Gambling has a tendency to encourage cheating and stealing. This is why most casinos spend a great deal of time and effort on security. In addition to guards and cameras, most modern casinos use technology to monitor the games themselves. For example, in baccarat the dealer’s cards are electronically monitored so that any statistical deviation from expected results can be quickly discovered; in roulette the wheels are checked for anomalies. Casinos also have catwalks above the casino floor which allow surveillance personnel to look down, through one-way glass, on the activities at the tables and slots.