A casino is a gambling establishment. Typically, it is located near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships and other tourist attractions. Casinos are owned by private corporations, Native American tribes, or public agencies and have a wide range of games that are played on their premises. These include classic table games such as blackjack, poker, roulette and craps, as well as slot machines and other electronic gaming devices. Many casinos also offer a variety of live entertainment performances, such as stand-up comedy or concerts.

Because of the large amounts of money that are handled within a casino, security is a very important part of any operation. The most basic measure is to have a large number of cameras throughout the casino floor. Other measures involve the use of “chip tracking,” where betting chips have built-in microcircuitry to monitor and record the amount wagered minute by minute, and electronic monitoring of roulette wheels to discover any statistical deviation from their expected results. Some casinos employ special personnel to monitor table games, to watch for blatant cheating and stealing by patrons (either in collusion with other players or independently), and to look for suspicious betting patterns that might indicate a player is trying to steal from the house.

Gambling is a popular pastime for many people, and the casino industry brings in billions of dollars each year. However, critics argue that the casino industry drains local economies by siphoning off spending by out-of-town tourists; that compulsive gamblers generate a disproportionate share of profits; and that the social costs of treating problem gamblers offset any economic benefits that casinos may bring to a community.