A casino is a place where people gamble by playing games of chance and in some cases with an element of skill. The house always has an advantage, referred to mathematically as the “house edge.” Some casinos offer complimentary items or comps to patrons; others pay out winnings in proportion to the amount wagered. Some casinos, especially in the United States, also offer traditional Far Eastern games such as sic bo (which spread to several European and American casinos during the 1990s), fan-tan, boule, and pai-gow.

A large part of a casino’s success or failure is based on the security measures it takes to prevent cheating and stealing by patrons and employees. These include a strong presence of uniformed personnel, cameras throughout the building, and sophisticated surveillance systems that can detect even a small change in a gambling pattern. In addition, all table games are closely monitored by pit bosses and managers to ensure that players aren’t stealing chips or dice from other tables or engaging in other types of collusion.

Many casino owners are reluctant to take on the financial burden of a full-time security staff, so they depend on a variety of other methods to protect their property and customers. Elaborate surveillance systems provide a high-tech eye-in-the-sky that can spot even the smallest suspicious movements; tables are equipped with cameras to watch betting patterns that may signal cheating; and slots have built-in microcircuitry that monitors their payouts minute by minute.