A casino is a gambling establishment, offering games of chance and sometimes skill. Its customers play against the house, winning or losing according to a set of rules. Some casinos have a high-stakes, glamorous reputation; others offer more low-key entertainment. While musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate themes help draw visitors, casinos would not exist without games of chance like slots, blackjack, poker, roulette, craps and baccarat. These games provide the billions in profits that casinos generate every year.

Most casinos are owned by large corporations, but some are run by Native American tribes or private investors. The largest commercial casinos are in Las Vegas, Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey, but there are also a number of smaller facilities around the country. Many state-licensed casinos offer a variety of games, including the classics of blackjack and poker as well as more exotic options such as baccarat and sic bo.

Casinos have a notorious reputation for corruption and cheating, partly because they are designed to be addictive and partly because of the large amounts of money involved. For this reason they use a great deal of technology to monitor game outcomes and prevent tampering. Video cameras watch players and their actions; computer systems record the exact amount of money wagered minute-by-minute, allowing casinos to quickly discover any statistical deviation from expected results; and wheel-monitoring devices constantly check for any anomalies.

The precise origin of gambling is unknown, but it has long been a feature of human culture. In modern times it is primarily associated with the casinos of Las Vegas and other cities, but it also exists in other countries, most notably in Macau (East Asia’s version of Vegas), Monaco and Singapore.