A casino (or gaming house) is an establishment that allows patrons to gamble on various games of chance. The term is also used for places that host other types of gambling events, such as lotteries and keno. Casinos are usually built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, and other tourist attractions. They often feature a distinctive architecture and theme. They are often located in or around large cities, and many are owned by governments or private corporations. Some states regulate the number and location of casinos while others restrict them completely or allow them only in specific areas.

The word casino is derived from the Italian card game cassone, which means “little house.” In modern usage, the term may refer to any building or room in which gambling is permitted. Casinos often feature a mix of games, including slot machines, table games like poker and blackjack, and sports betting. Some casinos also offer live entertainment such as shows or music performances.

There are many ways for people to cheat or steal at a casino, either in collusion with one another or independently. For this reason, casinos take a great deal of time and effort on security measures. These measures range from a physical security force to a specialized surveillance department that works closely with the physical security force.

In addition to a strong physical presence, the vast majority of modern casinos are heavily wired. Every slot machine is wired so that it can send a signal to the central server, which in turn records the results of each spin. In this way, any statistical deviations are easily detected and can be flagged for investigation. Table games are similarly monitored electronically. The use of chips to represent money turns the actual dollars into an abstraction, which makes it easier to spot suspicious patterns in betting behavior.

While lighted fountains, giant pyramids and towers, and replicas of famous landmarks can draw visitors to a casino, the main source of revenue is still gambling. Slot machines, baccarat, blackjack, roulette and craps bring in billions of dollars every year for casino owners. These profits, when combined with the interest on the borrowed capital, are enough to pay for elaborate hotels, theaters, restaurants, shopping centers and other amenities.