The Casino, which means “house” in Italian, is a place where people come to play games of chance or skill. Casinos are usually located in cities or resort destinations and feature a variety of entertainment options. Besides gambling, casinos often have restaurants, bars and shopping areas. Some even have performance venues where pop, rock, jazz and other artists come to perform for guests.

According to the American Gaming Association, about 51 million people visited casinos domestically in 2002, roughly one quarter of all adults over 21. That number doesn’t include the many who gambled abroad. From the glamorous casinos on the Las Vegas Strip to the raucous illegal pai gow parlors in New York’s Chinatown, casinos attract customers from all over the world and draw billions of dollars in profits each year.

While a lot of attention is given to the glitzy amenities casinos offer, it’s important to remember that casinos are ultimately gambling venues. The profits generated by the billions of bets placed at slot machines, blackjack tables, roulette wheels and craps are what make casinos possible.

In order to protect those billions of bets, casinos employ a variety of security measures. These range from high-tech surveillance systems to highly trained staff members who watch over the tables and players. They are looking for blatant cheating, like palming cards or marking dice, as well as more subtle patterns in the way people play certain games that might indicate they are trying to alter the odds.