A casino is a gambling establishment that offers games of chance. These games include poker, roulette, blackjack, baccarat and slot machines. Successful casinos earn billions each year for the companies, investors and Native American tribes that run them. They also reap taxes and fees that benefit local governments.

Gambling has been a popular pastime in nearly every culture throughout history, including Ancient Mesopotamia, Rome and Elizabethan England. The modern casino is a sophisticated entertainment complex that rivals an amusement park, complete with musical shows, shopping centers and elaborate hotels. But even the most sophisticated casino would not exist without games of chance that are mathematically designed to give the house a constant advantage over patrons.

The advantage of a casino game is known as its “house edge” or “vig.” In games where players compete against each other, such as poker, the house collects a fee called the rake. The vig is calculated as a percentage of the total amount of bets placed. Other casino income is derived from comps, or complimentary goods and services, given to high-volume patrons.

The security of a casino starts on the floor, where casino employees keep their eyes peeled for blatant cheating. Dealers are heavily focused on their own games and can spot a lot of things that regular players may not notice. Pit bosses and table managers have a more broader view of the tables and can catch more subtle improprieties like mark-switching or card tampering.