A casino (also called a gambling house or a gaming house) is an establishment where people can gamble and play games of chance. Its primary activity is gambling, but it also has a variety of other entertainment options and is a major tourist attraction. Some casinos have restaurants, bars, hotels, spas and other amenities. The first casinos were gangster-run places, but as real estate investors and hotel chains gained more money they bought out the mobsters and began operating legit gambling businesses. Federal crackdowns and the threat of losing a license at even a hint of mob involvement mean that today’s casinos are very different from their illegitimate counterparts.

Most casino games have a high degree of luck, and the mathematical expectation of winning is uniformly negative from the player’s perspective. To compensate for this, casinos use a variety of techniques to make sure that they are not losing money, such as “chip tracking” in table games where betting chips with built-in microcircuitry allow the casino to keep track of every bet made minute-by-minute, and electronic monitoring of roulette wheels to discover quickly any statistical anomaly.

In addition to these security measures, many casinos rely on their reputation for glamour and excitement to attract customers. They often feature high-profile performers, such as famous music stars, and luxurious facilities such as spas and restaurants. Gambling only makes up a small percentage of what is available in these venues, but the lure of luxury and entertainment is a huge draw for customers.