A casino, or gambling house, is a facility for certain types of gambling. It is often combined with hotels, restaurants and entertainment. It is also known as a gaming establishment and may have a star rating system like those in Las Vegas, where many people travel to gamble.

In 2008, the American Gaming Association estimated that about 51 million people—a group representing roughly a quarter of all adults over 21—visited casinos in the United States. These visitors came by car, bus, train, cruise ship or plane. They stayed at hotels and spent billions on games that have a mathematical edge for the house.

Casinos have security measures to discourage patrons and staff from cheating or stealing, either in collusion or independently. Cameras and electronic systems monitor games, for example, and “chip tracking” connects betting chips to electronic systems that allow a casino to monitor the exact amounts bet minute by minute. Roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly to discover statistical deviations from expected results.

Casinos also reward “good” players with free goods and services that are a part of the overall entertainment package. These are called comps, and they include items such as free hotel rooms, tickets to shows, food and drinks, and even limo service and airline tickets. The casino’s goal is to make each visit as pleasant and profitable as possible. In the past, these perks were offered to attract big bettors from other parts of the world, but now they are more likely to lure local people with lavish inducements.