A Casino is a building where a wide variety of games of chance can be played. Although musical shows, lighted fountains, restaurants and lavish hotels help draw patrons to casinos, the vast majority of their profits come from gambling on slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and keno. Casinos are also famous for the huge jackpots that many players have won. They are known for the glamour and excitement they offer, and they have become a worldwide entertainment phenomenon. From grand resorts in Las Vegas to small neighborhood joints, there are more than 1,000 casinos around the world.

The modern casino is a high-tech affair, with electronic surveillance and computerized systems that record and analyze the games. The computers are designed to look for patterns in the way that the machines are used, and statistical deviations can alert security personnel to suspicious activity. There are also catwalks that allow surveillance personnel to look down on the gambling floor through one-way glass.

The casino business was once dominated by mafia families, but mob control waned in the 1960s as hotel chains and real estate investors began to take over many of the facilities. These companies have much deeper pockets than the mafia, and they are unwilling to risk losing their gambling licenses in a federal crackdown. Many casino owners have even hired gaming mathematicians and computer programmers to help them keep up with the latest developments in game theory. These professionals can calculate the expected profit of a particular machine or table, and they may also be able to suggest changes in rules that could increase a casino’s profitability.