A casino, or gambling house, is a building that functions as a gathering place for people who play games of chance for money or other valuables. It is a form of legalized gambling that is available in many countries. Casinos often feature various types of table games, slot machines and poker tables, as well as restaurants and other entertainment options. They also generate billions of dollars in profits each year for the private owners, investors and Native American tribes that operate them.

While elaborate hotel and shopping complexes, dazzling musical shows and lighted fountains may help attract visitors, the vast majority of casino profits come from gamblers. A wide variety of games, including roulette, blackjack, baccarat and craps, provide the opportunity for gamblers to win or lose large sums.

Gambling in casinos is regulated by law and supervised by gaming control boards. Most states require casinos to display signs alerting patrons to the possibility of problem gambling and to offer contact information for organizations that can provide specialized support. Casinos also employ a variety of security measures, from well-trained staff to sophisticated surveillance systems that use video cameras mounted in the ceiling to track every movement on the floor.

The typical casino patron is a forty-six-year-old female from a family with an above-average income. These people account for more than two-thirds of casino gambling revenue, according to a 2005 study by Roper Reports GfK NOP and TNS. In addition to these primary patrons, casinos often rely on comps to draw in additional gamblers. These perks are free goods and services provided to high-volume gamblers, such as discounted or free hotel rooms, show tickets and restaurant and limo service.