A casino is a place where people play games of chance for money. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and craps generate billions of dollars in profits for casinos each year. But the word casino also has another, darker meaning: a place where gambling is illegal or unethical.

In the United States, casinos range from massive resorts in Las Vegas to small card rooms in bars and restaurants. In addition, some American Indian reservations have casinos. While legal casino gaming is restricted to a few states, the industry is growing. The growth of casinos has fueled debate over whether they benefit local economies or detract from them.

Successful casinos bring in billions of dollars each year for the companies, corporations, investors and Native American tribes that own and operate them. They also reap huge tax revenues from state and local governments.

While many people gamble for fun, a significant percentage of those who play in casinos do so compulsively. This type of player is a risky one for a casino, because they are likely to spend more money than they can afford to lose. Consequently, casinos devote enormous resources to security.

Often, this consists of a physical security force that patrols the facility and responds to calls for assistance or reports of suspicious or definite criminal activity. But modern casinos are increasingly reliant on technology for casino surveillance. Some use computerized chips in betting tables that track the exact amount wagered minute by minute; others have roulette wheels and craps games wired to computers that reveal any statistical deviations from expected results.