A casino is a place where people gamble by playing games of chance and skill. Casinos also feature elaborate architecture and design. There are more than a thousand casinos around the world. They range from Las Vegas-style mega-resorts to small pai gow parlors in New York City. Despite the variety, all casinos share some basic features.

Casinos make money by allowing patrons to gamble and by charging fees for services such as meals, drinks and rooms. Most casino games have a built-in advantage for the house, which can be as low as two percent. The casino makes up the difference through a fee charged to players, called the vig or rake. Casinos also profit from the fact that many of their patrons are tourists, who spend large amounts of money while they are there.

Something about gambling (perhaps the presence of large sums of money) seems to encourage cheating, stealing and scamming. For this reason casinos invest a lot of time and money in security. They have cameras that watch every table, window and doorway. They can even zoom in on suspicious patrons. There are more subtle ways to keep a tab on people, too. The way dealers shuffle and deal cards, the patterns of play among the regulars at a table and the expected reactions of players all follow certain conventions that can help spot abnormal behavior.

Some casinos have added a level of luxury to attract more sophisticated customers. For example, the Casino Baden in Germany was built to resemble an old spa town, and it has more than 130 slot machines and table games. It also offers a luxurious suite for high rollers.