A casino is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. Whether they are in huge resorts in Nevada or on floating barges on waterways around the country, successful casinos generate billions of dollars each year for the companies, investors and Native American tribes that own them. They also bring in huge revenues for state and local governments.

Most casino games involve a combination of luck and skill, but every one has a built-in statistical advantage for the house. This can be as low as two percent, but it adds up over millions of bets and is the primary source of casino profits. It is called the house edge or vigorish, and it is why casinos spend so much time and money on security.

Casinos employ many methods to discourage cheating and stealing. They use high-tech video cameras and other devices to oversee their games. They also have a strict code of conduct for players and enforce rules about things like keeping cards visible at all times. They even have a color scheme; red is a common choice, as it is believed to stimulate the senses and make people lose track of time.

Until recently, organized crime figures controlled most of the major casinos in America. Mob money brought huge profits, but federal crackdowns and the slightest whiff of Mafia involvement meant that legitimate businessmen had to take over. Now, hotel and real estate investors with deep pockets run most casinos. They reward loyal patrons with free hotel rooms, meals, show tickets and even airline seats.