A casino is an establishment that offers a variety of gambling activities. Typically it includes a hotel, restaurants, free drinks and stage shows. It may also offer sports betting and other types of gambling.

When most people think of casinos, they imagine the megaresorts of Las Vegas. But casinos come in all shapes and sizes. And while some focus on glitz and glamour, others are smaller businesses defined more by the type of gambling they offer.

In general, casinos make money by charging a small percentage of all bets to players. This is known as the house edge, and it can be very small—less than two percent for many games. However, over time this adds up to substantial profits for the casino.

To protect their profits, casinos rely on a combination of surveillance technology and employee supervision. Some of this is very sophisticated: chips have built-in microcircuitry to monitor exact amounts wagered minute by minute; roulette wheels are electronically monitored to discover any statistical deviations; and video cameras watch over the slot machines for signs of tampering or cheating.

The casino industry also relies on perks to encourage gamblers and reward those who spend the most. These are called comps, and they can include everything from free rooms to meals and show tickets to limo service and airline tickets. They are calculated to maximize the number of gamblers and their average spending per person. Some critics argue that this strategy actually harms local economies, because it shifts spending away from other forms of entertainment and hurts property values in the neighborhoods around casinos.