A casino is a gambling establishment where patrons can exchange money for chips and play games of chance or skill. Most casinos offer restaurants, free drinks and entertainment shows. Some are large, multi-level buildings; others are small and resemble private card rooms. In the United States, casinos are licensed and regulated by state governments.

Casinos generate billions in profits for the companies, investors and Native American tribes that operate them. They also contribute to local economies through taxes and other fees paid by patrons. Some states have stricter laws regarding casino gambling, while others permit it in specific locations such as Atlantic City and Las Vegas.

While slot machines are the economic mainstay of American casinos, their underlying technology makes them vulnerable to fraud and theft. As a result, they are closely watched by security personnel. A casino’s security measures may include a variety of techniques, from the simple to the complex. For example, the swiveling cameras in a casino’s ceiling can be focused to watch each table or change window at once, making it easy for surveillance workers to spot suspicious behavior. Casinos also rely on the patterns of game play and betting to spot cheating, either in collusion or by chance.

In addition to traditional table games like blackjack and poker, casinos also feature exotic Far Eastern games such as sic bo (which spread from Asia to several European and American casinos in the 1990s) and fan-tan. These games usually attract big bettors, and the casino reduces their house advantage to entice them.