A casino (from Spanish for gambling house) is a place where various types of chance-based games are played. These include slot machines, poker, craps, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and other games. In addition to gambling, casinos often offer other amenities such as restaurants, shows, and luxury accommodations. Many of these facilities are combined with hotels, resorts, and cruise ships. They may also be located on American Indian reservations, which are exempt from state laws regarding gambling.

Although stage shows, dazzling fountains, and luxurious hotels all help lure customers to casinos, these establishments would not exist without the games of chance that give them their name. Slots, roulette, blackjack, and other games generate the billions of dollars in profits that casinos rake in each year. In this article, we’ll explore the history of casinos, some of the most popular games, how they are played, and the dark side of the business.

Modern casino owners have become increasingly savvy at using technology to improve security and to monitor games more closely. Elaborate systems let security workers keep tabs on the exact amounts wagered by each player minute-by-minute; automated “chip tracking” lets players know that their chips have been electronically scanned and flags any suspicious behavior. Moreover, casinos use high-tech “eyes in the sky” to supervise every table, window, and doorway—and to watch for any statistical deviation that could spell trouble. This “eyes-in-the-sky” approach is a big reason why mob ties have all but disappeared from the world of casino gambling.