A casino is a place where people play games of chance or skill for money. They are often operated by large gambling companies, but can also be found in hotels, restaurants and even cruise ships. Many casinos offer a variety of games, such as roulette, blackjack, poker, and slot machines. Some have a theme, such as a medieval castle or the Las Vegas Strip. A casino can be a major source of income for its owners, investors, local governments and Native American tribes. It can also be a significant drain on local resources, with studies showing that the costs of addiction treatment and lost productivity far outweigh any economic benefits from gambling.

In the United States, casinos are regulated by state and federal laws. Most states require that casinos be licensed to operate, and some regulate the types of games offered and the minimum wage. In addition to license requirements, casinos must adhere to a set of security standards. Because of the large amounts of cash that are handled, casinos are vulnerable to theft by both patrons and employees. To combat this, the majority of modern casinos have a dedicated security force and specialized surveillance departments. The physical security force patrols the casino and responds to calls for assistance or reports of suspicious or definite criminal activity, while the surveillance department operates their closed circuit television system known as the eye in the sky.

To increase profits, casinos take a number of steps to keep their gamblers happy. They provide free food and drinks, which can reduce the house edge by a small amount. They use chips instead of cash, which lessens the psychological impact of losing money and makes it easier for security to track transactions. In addition, they often display large prizes on a rotating pedestal to draw attention and encourage people to play.