While the modern casino may look like an indoor amusement park for adults, it really is all about gambling. Musical shows, lighted fountains and lavish hotels draw in the crowds, but casinos would not exist without the games of chance that provide the billions of dollars in profits they rake in every year. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and keno all bring in the money.

In the past, many casinos were run by gangsters or mobster families, and the term casino came to mean anything from a sleazy hotel-casino in New Jersey to the Las Vegas strip. However, mobsters are long gone, and modern casinos are run by large real estate investors and hotel chains that want to avoid the kind of scandals that could jeopardize their gaming licenses.

Casinos use technology to help keep the games fair. For example, chip tracking allows them to oversee the amounts wagered minute by minute and to notice any deviation from expected results; roulette wheels are electronically monitored and can alert staff quickly if there is a problem. Computers also monitor betting patterns and reactions at the tables to spot cheating or stealing by both patrons and employees.

While no game is ever completely fair, some are more tilted in the casino’s favor than others. That’s why it is important to play within your budget, set a time limit for playing and always walk away while you are ahead. This will eliminate most losses and allow you to enjoy your visit more fully.