A casino is a building or room where gambling games are played. The precise origin of casinos is unknown, but they appeared in the second half of the 19th century, and were widely spread throughout Europe by the end of that period. The classic casino is that at Monte-Carlo, which has been a major source of income for the principality of Monaco since 1863. Casinos offer a variety of gambling activities, including roulette, blackjack, poker, craps, baccarat, and slot machines. Most of these games are based on chance, but some have an element of skill. Some casinos have also hotel and restaurant facilities, and other amenities.
Casinos make their money by collecting a percentage of the money bet on games of chance. They may also collect fees from players for table service and alcoholic beverages. Many casinos give out free goods or services to certain patrons, known as comps. These can include rooms, meals, tickets to shows, and even limo service and airline tickets for the biggest spenders.
While elaborate entertainment such as musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers, and themed casinos help draw in customers, the casinos would not exist without the billions of dollars bet on their games of chance every year. Because of this, there is an inevitable dark side to the business, which includes cheating, stealing and fraud by players and employees, whether in collusion or independently. Because of the large amounts of money involved, most casinos employ numerous security measures. These can range from cameras that are constantly watched to sophisticated “eye-in-the-sky” surveillance systems, which allow security personnel to monitor the activity of any given area at any time.