A casino is a public place that houses gambling activities. It adds a host of luxuries to the simple act of gambling, such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows. Casinos have been in existence for many centuries and the modern casino has developed into a massive industry. In 2002, about 51 million people visited casinos in the United States. The number is likely much higher today.

Gamblers bet on games of chance or skill and lose money if they do not win. The house always has a statistical advantage over the players, although the exact amount can vary depending on the game. Casinos make their money by charging a commission, called a vig or rake, on the games played. This percentage can be very small, as low as two percent for games like baccarat, but it can build up to enormous sums over the millions of bets placed by patrons.

Because of the large amounts of money handled within a casino, both patrons and employees may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. This is why casinos spend a great deal of money on security. Cameras that monitor activities and tables are a basic measure, but more sophisticated systems are also used to supervise specific games, such as roulette wheels and dice. These employ microcircuitry in betting chips that interact with electronic systems at the tables to oversee the total amount wagered minute-by-minute and warn about any deviation from expected results.