A casino is a facility where gambling games are played. It usually also offers food and drinks to its patrons and provides stage shows and other entertainment. Modern casinos have become a major source of tourism and attract many visitors from all over the world. In the United States, Nevada hosts the largest concentration of casinos. Other popular gaming centers include Atlantic City, New Jersey and Chicago. Native American casinos are growing in number as well.
Most casino games involve chance, but some have a small element of skill as well. Casinos make money by charging a “vig” or a “house edge”, which is the house’s mathematical advantage over the player. This is sometimes also referred to as the “house percentage”. The vig is calculated by multiplying the total bet amount by the house’s odds of winning, or the expected value of the bet. The vig is used to pay for the house’s overhead and to fund a profit, and it can vary widely by game.
Because of the large amounts of currency handled within a casino, both patrons and employees may be tempted to cheat or steal. To prevent this, most casinos employ a variety of security measures, including surveillance cameras and physical security forces. In addition, some casinos have catwalks in the ceiling that allow surveillance personnel to look directly down on the tables and machines. These surveillance systems have been instrumental in reducing the incidence of cheating and theft at casinos.