A casino is a gambling establishment that features many different kinds of games of chance and skill. It can be as large as a Vegas resort or as small as a card room in a restaurant. There are also casino-type game machines in bars, restaurants, and truck stops.

Casinos earn billions of dollars each year for the companies, investors, and Native American tribes that operate them. They also give back to local governments by paying taxes and fees. Successful casinos are able to draw large numbers of people from across the country and around the world.

In the early days of Nevada gambling, mafia figures provided much of the money for Las Vegas and Reno casinos. Legitimate businessmen were reluctant to invest in such enterprises, which had the taint of “vice.” But organized crime leaders understood gambling’s appeal and poured millions into creating glamorous casinos.

Today’s casinos employ many thousands of people. Their profits help finance elaborate hotels, fountains, pyramids and towers, and replicas of famous landmarks. Casinos also earn millions from the vig—a percentage of each bet that is collected by the house. The amount of vig collected depends on the rules of each game and the payouts set by the casino.

Casinos use a variety of methods to detect cheating and other crimes. They have high-tech eye-in-the-sky systems that let them monitor everything from individual tables to entire rooms. They also employ gaming mathematicians to analyze the house edge and variance of each game.