A casino is a place where patrons can gamble on games of chance. While elaborate stage shows, restaurants, free drinks and shopping centers help draw in the crowds, most of the billions in profits that casinos rake in every year comes from gambling. The articles below look at the history of casinos, how they make money, what kinds of games they offer and how to play them. They also explore how casinos stay safe and the dark side of the industry.

Most casino games have a mathematically determined advantage for the house, called the house edge or expected value. This advantage is built into the rules of the game, and is usually hidden from players. In poker, for example, the house takes a percentage of each player’s bet, or rake. In slot machines and other machine games, the house’s advantage is more apparent. It is usually less than 1 percent, but casinos can adjust the payouts on individual machines to achieve any desired profit margin.

A casino’s security begins with its employees, who are heavily trained to watch out for cheating or stealing by both customers and other staff members. In addition, many casinos have a number of cameras throughout the building that provide a high-tech “eye in the sky” to monitor everything that happens on the floor. These cameras are monitored by people in a room filled with banks of security monitors who can focus on specific suspicious patrons.