A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games of chance for money. It also features a variety of restaurants and other amenities for its patrons. Its main source of income is from the house edge built into each game. This advantage, which is the casino’s profit margin, is calculated by a mathematical algorithm and can be very small or very large depending on the type of game and how it is played.

Casinos make a lot of their money from “high rollers” who spend more than the average gambler. These high-stakes players are often given comps (free goods or services) such as free hotel rooms, meals, tickets to shows and even limo service and airline tickets. This strategy has made Las Vegas the leading casino city in the world, though many other cities have casinos as well.

Security is a big part of casino operations. The routines of different games follow certain patterns, so security personnel can spot anything out of the ordinary. In addition, sophisticated surveillance systems provide a “eye-in-the-sky” look at all the tables and slot machines with video cameras that can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons by security workers in a separate room filled with banks of monitors.

Although gambling probably predates recorded history, the modern casino was born out of a booming gambling craze in Europe during the 16th century. The word derives from the Italian “ridotto,” which was a private club where wealthy people would gather to gamble and socialize.