A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. It is also a place where people meet to relax and socialize with friends. Some casinos are combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops or cruise ships. Gambling in some form is found in most societies throughout history and around the world. Casinos are designed to appeal to a wide range of patrons, from high rollers to those who gamble infrequently or only for small amounts. Casinos offer a variety of games, such as roulette, blackjack, craps, and video poker. All of these games have mathematically determined odds that give the house a built in advantage. This is called the house edge and can vary by game and even by machine. In games where players play against each other, the house makes a profit by taking a percentage of each pot, a fee called the rake.

In 2005, Harrah’s Entertainment reported that the typical casino gambler was a forty-six-year-old female with an above-average income and who had visited a casino in the past year. This demographic accounted for 23% of all casino gamblers.

Because large amounts of cash are handled within casinos, cheating and stealing by staff or patrons may occur. For this reason, most casinos have elaborate security measures. These include surveillance systems with cameras mounted on the ceiling, which can be viewed by personnel in a room filled with banks of security monitors. These cameras are often referred to as the “eye in the sky.” Some casinos also employ special security officers who watch the casino floor and can quickly shift their attention to suspicious individuals.