A casino is a place where people play a variety of games of chance and gamble. The games may be based on skill, but the odds are always in favor of the house. This advantage is called the house edge and it’s designed to ensure that the casino makes money. Some casinos offer free drinks and stage shows and dramatic scenery, while others are more like a business, with tables, cards and machines.

In addition to the obvious security measures of cameras and guards, casinos use a variety of technological means to prevent cheating and theft. In one example, betting chips with built-in microcircuitry interact with electronic systems that allow casinos to oversee the exact amount of money wagered on each hand minute by minute and to spot any statistical deviations quickly. Other systems monitor roulette wheels and other equipment for irregularities on a regular basis.

The casino industry is a huge business that generates billions of dollars each year for owners, investors, gaming operators and Native American tribes. It’s a huge part of the economy in places like Las Vegas and Atlantic City and is spreading across the country as states legalize gambling. Even small towns with one or more casinos can have an economic impact. However, some states are concerned that a casino can lead to a problem with gambling addiction, and there are concerns about the effect of casinos on property values in local housing markets.