A casino is an entertainment complex designed to offer gaming opportunities. While musical shows, lighted fountains and lavish hotels help draw in the crowds, casinos would not exist without games of chance — which are the source of billions of dollars in profits for the owners. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and other games provide the thrills that attract customers and drive profits.
A casino’s security begins with its employees, who keep their eyes on the patrons and the games to make sure things go as they should. Dealers at table games can quickly spot blatant cheating like palming or marking cards and dice. They also rely on a network of surveillance cameras to monitor patron behavior and betting patterns for any unusual deviations from expected outcomes. Casinos also hire mathematicians to study house edges and variance, the mathematical probabilities of winning or losing on each game.
Some casinos offer free goods or services to their best players, known as comps. These can include free hotel rooms, meals and tickets to shows. Others reward high-volume bettors with airline tickets and limousine service. The more a gambler spends at a casino, the better his or her comp standing. Some players have enough skills to eliminate the inherent long-term disadvantage, called the house edge or vigorish, on the games they play.