The word casino is used most often to describe a gambling establishment, but the casinos of today are so much more than a place to gamble. They’re entertainment complexes with hotels, restaurants, shopping centers and elaborate themes designed to draw in patrons from all over the world. They’re also business enterprises with a built-in advantage over their customers that is mathematically determined and known as the house edge.

Casinos earn a large percentage of their revenue from slot machines and other electronic games of chance, which are controlled by onboard computer chips. The machines take in money, then dispense predetermined patterns of colored shapes that roll across the reels (either physical real-world reels or video representations of them). If the right pattern hits, the player wins a certain amount of money. It doesn’t take a lot of skill or strategy to play these games, and casino patrons aren’t likely to cheat or steal to beat the odds.

Craps, roulette, baccarat and blackjack are other popular casino games that allow patrons to place bets based on chance. These games usually have high house edges, but casinos may lower them to attract big bettors and make more revenue. Besides casino-controlled games, many casinos offer poker and other card games that pit players against each other. Casinos earn a profit by taking a small portion of each pot or charging an hourly fee to the players. Security in a casino starts on the casino floor, where employees keep a close eye on patrons to spot blatant cheating or suspicious behavior.