A casino (also known as a gambling house or a gaming hall) is an establishment for certain types of gambling. Casinos are often built adjacent to or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships and other tourist attractions. Some casinos also have a variety of non-gambling entertainment options, such as bars, swimming pools and spas. Casinos earn billions of dollars each year for the companies, investors and Native American tribes that own and operate them. They also generate significant revenue for state and local governments.

Like any other business, casinos must maximize profits while keeping patrons happy. This is why casinos offer free food and drinks, lavish “comps” such as tickets to shows or luxury suites, reduced-fare transportation and free rooms. These amenities help offset the house edge, which is the average gross profit that a casino expects to make on each game played.

Casinos have many security measures in place to prevent cheating and stealing by patrons and employees. For example, patrons must use chips instead of cash; this makes it easier for the casino to track how much money is entering and exiting the premises. In addition, clocks are rarely visible in a casino, so gamblers may lose track of how long they have been gambling and spending money.

In the past, mobster involvement in casinos was common, but as the industry grew and real estate investors and hotel chains got into the game, they were able to buy out the mobster owners and run their casinos without any mob interference. Nevertheless, the threat of losing their casino license at the slightest hint of mob involvement still keeps casinos vigilant about possible criminal activity.