A casino is a public place where games of chance are played. It has a gambling hall, restaurant and other amenities. Casinos may add stage shows, shopping centers and dramatic scenery to draw in visitors, but most of the billions of dollars they earn each year are from games that depend on random chance. Slot machines, roulette wheels and card games like blackjack, poker and baccarat provide the profits.

Although some casino games involve a certain degree of skill, the house always has a mathematical advantage over players. That advantage can be lowered by knowing how to play a game optimally, but it cannot be eliminated entirely. That is why casinos employ sophisticated systems to monitor and control the games themselves, such as computer-monitored “chip tracking” that enables them to oversee the exact amount of money wagered minute by minute and quickly warn employees if any betting anomaly occurs; and automated roulette wheels that can detect a statistical deviation from expected results.

Casinos often focus on customer service, offering perks such as free drinks and food to big bettors. They also reward repeat business by giving them “comps,” such as discounted hotel rooms, free show tickets and reduced-fare transportation or meals. For example, the elegant spa town of Baden-Baden first became a playground for wealthy Europeans 150 years ago, and Marlene Dietrich once called it the most beautiful casino in the world. Even now it attracts visitors who appreciate its baroque flourishes and red chandeliers.