In the past, casinos were places where people gambled for money. Now, many of them offer a lot more. They can feature hotels, restaurants, non-gambling games, spas and bars. They can also be impressively large. Some even have themed decor and mind-blowing numbers of games to choose from.

Casinos make their money by taking a small percentage of the bets placed in them. They do this through a system of commissions called “rake.” In games that involve skill, the house edge is smaller than in games of pure chance, but still exists. Casinos are protected from cheating and theft by the same laws that govern other businesses. They also spend a lot of time, effort and money on security.

There’s something about gambling that encourages people to try to beat the system. Whether it’s the high-stakes environment, the presence of huge amounts of money or simply the desire to be rich, casino patrons often try to scam, cheat or steal to gain an advantage over their fellow players. This drives up the cost of running a casino and makes it difficult to turn a profit.

The elegant spa town of Baden-Baden in Germany’s Black Forest was once a playground for Europe’s royalty and the aristocracy. Today it draws tourists from around the world to its blackjack and roulette tables, and luxurious poker rooms. Its casino is among the most beautiful in the world, decorated with Baroque flourishes and designed to resemble a French palace.