A casino is a gambling establishment where patrons can gamble. Modern casinos often feature many games of chance, including slot machines, blackjack, baccarat, craps, roulette and poker. Some also offer traditional Far Eastern games like sic bo (which became a popular game in European and American casinos during the 1990s), fan-tan, and pai gow. Most casinos are licensed and regulated by governments, but are often operated by private businesses.

Security is a crucial aspect of casino operations. Staff watch over the tables and players with video cameras and other technology. They know the routines of the games, and can spot blatant cheating like palming, marking or switching cards and dice. Security also watches for betting patterns that might signal a cheating attempt.

Some casinos specialize in certain types of games, such as keno or bingo. Others focus on particular kinds of customers, such as high rollers or locals. They might even have a theme, such as sports or romance.

In 2005, Harrah’s Entertainment found that the average casino gambler was a forty-six-year-old woman from a household with an above-average income. They played a variety of games, but slots were the most popular with sixty-four percent of the total revenue coming from them. Some critics argue that casinos are not good for the community because they divert spending from other forms of entertainment and cause problems with compulsive gambling. Some studies indicate that the net value of casinos to a community is negative, because treatment costs and lost productivity from gambling addicts offset any profits they bring in.