A casino is a place where people wager money on games of chance. These games may include dice, card, and slot machines. A casino is also a venue for entertainment such as concerts and sports events. Many casinos have restaurant and retail shopping facilities, as well as hotel accommodations. Almost all countries have laws regulating casino gambling.

In 2002, about 51 million people — a quarter of all Americans over the age of 21 — visited a casino. In the United States, casino visits were more than twice as high as visits to professional baseball, basketball and football games and four times as high as attendance at Broadway shows.

Casinos make their profits from the difference between the bets a patron places and the odds of those bets, which are mathematically determined to give the casino an advantage over players. This advantage is called the house edge, and it varies by game. In addition, the house often takes a percentage of the bets placed, a practice called rakeback.

The math works against gamblers, and it’s not uncommon to walk out of a casino with less money than you entered. That’s why it’s important to balance your gambling with other leisure activities.

Because of the importance of security in casino operations, most casinos employ a large number of personnel. For example, pit bosses and table managers watch over the tables, making sure no one is cheating by palming or marking cards or stealing chips. Casinos use technology to monitor games, as well. For example, some betting chips have built-in microcircuitry that allows the casino to keep tabs on exactly how much is being wagered minute by minute. Roulette wheels are electronically monitored to discover any statistical deviation from their expected results.