A casino is a building or room where people can gamble. People play games such as roulette, poker, blackjack, and slot machines for money or other rewards. A casino also offers entertainment such as shows or sports events.

In the past, casinos were often run by organized crime or mobs, but federal crackdowns and the threat of losing a gaming license at even the slightest hint of mafia involvement meant that mobsters had to abandon their gambling empires. This left the business to real estate investors and hotel chains, which realized they could make money from the casino industry without mobsters.

Casinos employ a wide range of security measures to prevent cheating. Card dealers and pit bosses have a close eye on their tables, looking out for blatant cheating such as palming or marking cards; table managers and supervisors look over the entire floor with a much broader view of all activity; and electronic systems on some casino tables monitor betting chips minute by minute, alerting staff to any statistical deviation from expected results.

In 2005, Harrah’s reported that the typical casino gambler was a forty-six-year-old female from a household with an above-average income. But critics argue that the money spent by casino gamblers shifts spending from other forms of local entertainment and that the cost of treating problem gambling erodes any economic gains that casinos might bring to a community. Also, the gaudy decoration and lighting inside a casino can be stimulating and disorienting, leading to gambling addiction.