A casino is a public place where a variety of games of chance are played. Although a variety of extras such as stage shows, restaurants, free drinks and lighted fountains help draw patrons into casinos, the real reason they exist is to profit from gambling. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and other gambling games provide the billions of dollars that casinos rake in each year.
Each casino game offers a built in mathematical advantage to the house. The amount of this edge varies, but it is enough to give the casino a virtual assurance of gross profit over time. Combined with the money that gamblers spend on casino food, beverages and cigarettes, this provides sufficient profits to justify expensive building structures such as elaborate hotels, pyramids, towers and replicas of famous landmarks.
In the modern era, the casino industry has been dominated by huge hotel chains and real estate investors. This has eliminated mob involvement in the industry, which was a major factor in the early days of casino gambling. The mob would often buy or build large casinos to control the flow of gambling profits in their territory. Today, the mob is less likely to get involved with a casino because of federal crackdowns and the fact that legitimate casino businesses can easily lose their gaming licenses at the slightest hint of mob involvement.
In addition to cameras, casinos employ a number of other security measures. For example, they use chips instead of cash so that gamblers are not distracted by the amount of actual money that they are losing. Moreover, the routines and patterns of casino games make it easier for security personnel to spot suspicious behavior.