A casino is a gambling establishment where people can wager money on games of chance. Besides the usual gambling tables and slots, some casinos feature stage shows, gourmet restaurants and luxury hotels. Some of the most famous casinos are in Las Vegas, but there are also famous ones in other cities around the world.

A gambler’s chances of winning are improved by playing in a casino that has a favorable house edge. The house edge is a small percentage of each bet that the casino collects, and over time it can add up to significant profits. The house edge can vary by game and even by individual machine, but overall it is a significant factor in determining how much money the casino will make over time.

Despite the house advantage, many people still choose to gamble in casinos. This makes the business very profitable. In the United States alone, about 51 million people—a quarter of all Americans over age 21—visited a casino in 2002.

The success of casinos has given rise to concerns about cheating and theft by both patrons and employees. Because large amounts of cash are handled within casinos, security measures are extremely important. Casinos typically have a physical security force that patrols the floor and a specialized surveillance department that monitors closed circuit television, known in the industry as the “eye in the sky.” Security personnel can adjust the cameras to focus on suspicious patrons or specific machines. They can also watch the tapes in a separate room filled with banks of security monitors.