A casino (or gambling house) is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Casinos are often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops and other entertainment attractions. They may also offer comps (free goods or services) to high-spending patrons, such as free hotel rooms, meals and show tickets. Some casinos are owned by large corporations, such as the Hilton hotel chain, while others are owned by individuals.

Gambling is a complex activity, requiring a weighing of risk and reward, wise decisions and a bit of luck. It is a major source of revenue for many countries. While it is associated with glitz and glamour, it can also be seedy and depressing.

Casinos employ a variety of security measures to ensure that the games are fair. Security personnel on the floor are trained to watch for blatant cheating, such as palming or marking cards or dice. They also know the routines and patterns of the games, so they can spot anything out of the ordinary. Table managers and pit bosses also monitor the actions of players at table games, watching for betting patterns that suggest they are trying to cheat.

Casinos earn money by charging a commission on winning bets, or a percentage of total losses, in games such as poker that don’t involve competition with the house. This income is known as the rake. In games that have a skill element, the casino’s advantage is mathematically determined and is known as the house edge.