A casino is a building where people can gamble on games of chance. It features a variety of gambling-related activities and entertainment, including musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and lavish hotels. But the vast majority of a casino’s profits (and fun for its patrons) comes from the games themselves: Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, poker and craps provide the billions of dollars that casinos bring in every year.

Gambling in its various forms has been around for thousands of years, and casinos have evolved along with it. From the earliest days of Nevada’s casino resorts to today’s massive megaresorts in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, casinos have always been popular places for vacationers to spend their money.

Casinos make their money by offering games of chance to the public and by collecting a percentage of the bets made on those games. Casinos often entice high rollers to play by giving them free spectacular entertainment, luxury hotel rooms and even limo service.

Something about gambling seems to inspire cheating, theft and scamming among some of its patrons. For that reason, casinos invest a lot of time and money in security. Some of this security is obvious: Dealers keep close watch over their tables and can easily spot blatant attempts to cheat. Others are more subtle: Video cameras track each bet minute-by-minute and can detect patterns that may indicate a change in the odds of winning or losing; electronic systems monitor the results of roulette wheels to discover any statistical deviations.