A casino is a gambling establishment that offers various games of chance for customers. Many casinos also offer hotel rooms, restaurants, bars and other amenities. Some of the largest casinos in the world are located in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, but there are also many others scattered across the globe. The exact origin of gambling is unknown, but it is believed to have been practiced in many societies throughout history.
In modern times, the majority of casinos are large tourist attractions that feature a variety of games of chance and other forms of entertainment. Many of these facilities are designed with elaborate architecture and include features such as fountains, pyramids, towers and replicas of famous buildings. Casinos make money by charging customers a fee to play the games, a percentage of their winnings or a combination of both. This is called the house edge and it can be quite small, typically less than two percent. In poker and other games where players compete against each other, the casino may take a percentage of the pot or charge an hourly fee to cover staff costs.
The casinos of the modern era are generally much more heavily policed than their predecessors. In the past, mobster involvement was commonplace but federal crackdowns and the threat of losing a license at even the slightest hint of Mafia involvement have largely eliminated this issue. Casinos are also heavily automated and use technology to monitor and regulate the games themselves. For example, in some casinos, betting chips have built-in microcircuitry that interacts with electronic systems to allow casinos to oversee the precise amounts wagered minute by minute and to quickly discover any statistical deviations.