A casino is a gambling establishment in which a variety of games of chance are offered. It consists of a hall with a number of gaming tables for card and dice games, as well as slot machines. It is operated by croupiers.

The casino industry is a large and profitable one, with 51 million people visiting casinos domestically and internationally in 2002 alone. Most of these visitors are tourists. The largest casinos are in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, but there are also many smaller ones in other cities around the world.

In order to earn a profit, casinos must offer a certain statistical advantage to their patrons. This edge can be very small, but over time it will generate enough income to cover a large percentage of the casino’s operating costs. This is what makes the casino business so lucrative, and it enables it to build lavish hotels with towers, pyramids and replicas of famous landmarks.

Casinos must be secure places because of the large amounts of money involved. Casino employees watch the patrons very closely, and they are trained to spot blatant cheating and stealing. There are a number of other security measures, as well. For example, most modern casinos are wired with a high-tech “eye in the sky” system that allows security personnel to monitor every table, window and doorway from a separate room filled with banks of video screens.

Critics argue that casino revenue is a net negative for the community, as it shifts spending away from other forms of entertainment. They also contend that the economic cost of treating gambling addictions offsets any positive effects a casino may have on a local economy.