A casino is a facility where people play games of chance or skill. There are a wide variety of casino games, and some casinos specialize in specific types. Some examples are blackjack, video poker, and craps. Many casinos also offer complimentary goods and services to their customers, such as free rooms, food, show tickets, and limo service. These perks are called comps. They help to offset the house edge, which is the casino’s built-in advantage over players.
The modern casino is usually divided into a physical security force and a specialized surveillance department. The former patrols the property and responds to calls for assistance or reports of suspicious or definite criminal activity. The latter monitors the casino’s closed circuit television system, known as “eye in the sky.”
Casinos make money by taking a percentage of all bets placed. This can be as little as two percent, depending on the game. In addition, casinos collect a commission on the profits of certain machines, known as the rake. These fees are a significant source of revenue for the casino and often justify the construction of elaborate hotels, fountains, towers, and replicas of famous landmarks.
In the 1990s, technology revolutionized the gambling industry. Casinos began using electronic systems to monitor games and patron behavior. For example, roulette wheels are monitored electronically to discover any statistical deviation from their expected value. In addition, betting chips have built-in microcircuitry to enable the casino to see exactly how much is being wagered minute by minute.