A casino is an establishment where gambling games take place. It may also contain other entertainment attractions such as restaurants, night clubs and shopping centers. Casinos can be found in the United States and around the world. They make billions in profits every year, mostly from gaming (betting on chance), but other activities such as stage shows and lighted fountains also contribute to their bottom lines.

Gambling was illegal for much of American history, but that didn’t stop people from running underground casinos. Mobster money poured into casinos in Las Vegas, Reno and elsewhere, and organized crime figures took sole or partial ownership of many casinos. Legitimate businessmen were reluctant to get involved, worried about the taint of organized crime and gambling’s seamy image.

Modern casinos have elaborate themes and offer a variety of entertainment to attract customers. But they wouldn’t exist without games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and baccarat all provide the billions in annual profits that casinos earn. Casinos also take a cut of the action, or rake, from other table games such as poker.

Casinos employ a range of security measures to protect their patrons and property. Depending on the size of the facility, this can include a physical security force and/or a specialized surveillance department that monitors closed circuit television. Security staff can be trained to spot suspicious behavior, whether from patrons or employees, and defuse the situation before it escalates.