A casino, also known as a gambling establishment, is a public place where people can play a variety of games of chance for money. While modern casinos add a host of luxuries, such as restaurants, stage shows and lighted fountains, the vast majority of their profits (and fun for patrons) come from games that involve chance and risk-taking. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and baccarat are among the games that generate billions in annual profits for casino owners.

A major part of a casino’s security comes from its employees. Dealers are trained to watch for blatant cheating, such as palming cards or marking dice; pit bosses and table managers have a more broad view of the tables and can spot betting patterns that could indicate dishonest behavior. Casinos also use elaborate technology to monitor their games. For example, in “chip tracking,” betting chips with microcircuitry interact with electronic systems to allow casinos to monitor exactly how much is being wagered minute by minute; and roulette wheels are electronically monitored on a regular basis to discover any statistical deviation from expected results.

Despite all the flashing lights and giveaways, there is one certainty in gambling: The house always wins. The built in advantage, known as the house edge, can be a very small percentage but it is enough to offset the millions of bets placed each year by casino patrons. You can’t eliminate your losses or win every bet, but you can improve your chances of winning by understanding the rules of probability and using the information provided in this article.