A casino is a large building that houses a number of gambling tables and slot machines. It may also offer a variety of entertainment, food and drink services to its patrons.

Casinos make billions of dollars each year, generating profits for corporations, investors and Native American tribes as well as local governments that reap taxes and fees from gambling operations. They can be as large as a Las Vegas resort or as small as a card room in a bar or restaurant. Often, casinos feature elaborate fountains, pyramids, towers and replicas of famous landmarks.

Security is a key issue in the casino business. Elaborate surveillance systems provide a high-tech eye in the sky, with cameras watching every table, window and doorway. They can be adjusted to focus on specific suspicious patrons by security workers in a separate room filled with banks of security monitors.

Besides surveillance, casinos rely on a variety of other security measures. Dealers have a close-up view of the gaming action and can easily spot blatant cheating like palming or marking cards and dice. Table managers and pit bosses have a wider view of the tables and can spot betting patterns that could signal cheating.

Most casinos reward their big spenders by giving them free goods and services, known as comps. These can include free hotel rooms, meals and tickets to shows. But studies indicate that gambling addicts generate a disproportionate share of casino profits and that the social costs of compulsive gambling outweigh any economic gains from the games.