A casino (also called a gambling house or a gaming room) is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Casinos are often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops or other tourist attractions. They can also be standalone facilities. The games played in casinos are usually based on chance, although some have an element of skill, such as blackjack and poker. In many jurisdictions, casinos are licensed and regulated by government agencies.
The large amounts of money handled in casinos may encourage people to cheat and steal, either in collusion with others or independently; this is why most casinos have security measures in place. In addition to cameras and other visible surveillance equipment, there are less obvious measures such as the patterns that people follow when playing certain games. For example, the way that dealers shuffle and deal cards or the locations of betting spots on a table follow set patterns that make it easier for casino security to spot unusual activity.
Casinos make their money by taking a small percentage of all bets placed, a practice known as the house edge or vigorish. The advantage can be small (less than two percent) or large, depending on the game and the rules. Some casinos earn more by charging for admission to special rooms or areas that are reserved for high-stakes gamblers, who can bet tens of thousands of dollars or more per hand. To attract these customers, some casinos offer complimentary items or comps such as food, drinks or show tickets.