A casino is a gambling establishment where customers gamble by playing games of chance and in some cases of skill. These games include roulette, baccarat, blackjack, craps, and video poker. Casinos also offer food, drinks and entertainment. They generate profits from the money bet by patrons and, in some cases, from the house advantage built into the game odds.

Gambling is a social activity in which people interact with one another while playing. Players often shout encouragement to one another, and the noise level is high. Casinos are based on light, color, and excitement to create an environment that draws in gamblers and encourages them to spend more time playing.

Most casinos are run by governments or private companies, but some are owned and operated by organized crime. In the past, mob figures provided much of the cash that made casinos possible, and they often controlled them personally or through fronts. The taint of mafia association made legitimate businessmen reluctant to invest in the industry, so it was usually private citizens and their families who built casinos.

In the twenty-first century, casinos are choosier about who they allow to play. They concentrate their investments on the “high rollers”—gamblers who wager tens of thousands of dollars at a time. These gamblers are given special treatment, including free rooms and limousines. They are watched by security guards in rooms filled with banks of monitors that can be adjusted to focus on specific suspicious patrons.