A casino is an establishment where people can gamble by playing games of chance or skill. The most popular games are slot machines, blackjack, roulette and craps. Other games include keno, baccarat, and poker. In some countries, casinos also offer sports betting. Many casinos have elaborate themes and are designed to attract upscale clientele. Musical shows and lighted fountains are commonly found in these gambling facilities.
The precise origin of gambling is unknown, but it is generally believed that there has been some form of it throughout human history. Ancient Mesopotamia, China, and Rome all had forms of gambling. In modern times, it has become a popular activity in many cultures around the world.
Casinos are essentially businesses that profit from the gamblers they draw in, and their profits depend on the percentage of money wagered by each player that they keep. They earn this advantage over the players through a system of odds that gives them a mathematical expectation of winning, or, more precisely, an expected value that is uniformly negative (from the point of view of the player).
Casino patrons are often tempted to cheat and steal, either in collusion with other patrons or independently, because of the large amounts of cash handled within a casino. This is why casinos spend a significant amount of time, effort and money on security. Various methods of security are employed, including cameras and computer monitoring of the games themselves. In addition, tables are fitted with chips that have built-in microcircuitry to enable casinos to monitor the exact amount of money being bet minute by minute, and to quickly discover any statistical deviation from their expected results.