Casino is a gambling establishment where people can gamble using games of chance. These games may involve some element of skill, but the house always has an edge over players. Typically the house takes a percentage of all bets placed, which is known as the rake. Casinos also give out free items, called comps, to gamblers who spend a lot of time and money in the establishment. In addition to slot machines, video poker and table games like blackjack, baccarat and craps, casinos often feature traditional Far Eastern games such as sic bo (which spread to European and American casinos during the 1990s) and fan-tan.
The modern casino is like an indoor amusement park for adults, with lighted fountains, musical shows and elaborate themes. But the vast majority of its profits, which can run into the billions, come from games of chance. Slot machines, roulette, keno and other games provide the entertainment that attracts customers, while card games like blackjack and poker allow players to compete against one another rather than the casino.
While casinos have a reputation for being glamorous and decadent, they are not without their darker side. For example, something about gambling seems to encourage people to cheat, steal and scam their way into winnings. Casinos employ a variety of security measures to keep their patrons safe and to prevent these activities, such as installing cameras that monitor patrons, preventing the use of cell phones in the gaming areas and using catwalks that allow surveillance personnel to look directly down on table and slot machine action through one-way glass.