A casino is a public place where people can play games of chance. Modern casinos add stage shows, shopping centers and lavish hotels to lure gamblers, but the billions of dollars in profits they rake in each year would not exist without the games themselves. Craps, roulette, blackjack and video poker provide most of the money that casinos make.

The origins of the modern casino are uncertain, but it is widely considered to have begun in 1638 with the Ridotto, a four-story gambling house in Venice that was government-sanctioned and open to the general public. It was one of the first publicly run casinos in Europe, and the first to offer primitive card games to a wide audience.

Modern casinos are renowned for their elaborate security measures. In addition to cameras and other technological systems, casino employees constantly monitor patrons to identify suspicious behavior. Many casinos also have a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” system that allows security personnel to view every table, window and doorway from a central location.

Casinos are based on the principle that a certain percentage of all bets made will lose. This is known as the house edge, and it is one of the few things in gaming that is mathematically guaranteed to be true. To compensate for this advantage, casinos take a commission on bets, which is called the vig or rake. This is often hidden in the terms and conditions of the game, so it is important to read them carefully.