The modern casino is much like an indoor amusement park for adults, with musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers all aimed at drawing in the crowds. But casinos would not exist at all without the gambling games that bring in billions in profits every year. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and other games of chance provide the entertainment (and the billions in revenue) that attract people to casinos.

While casinos are known for flashiness and high stakes, they’re also serious businesses with a long history of regulation and enforcement. They have built-in advantages that ensure they, not the players, will win in the end, and the longer a player plays, the more likely it is the house will collect its profits.

Because of the large amounts of money handled by a casino, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. To prevent this, casinos employ security measures such as cameras, which monitor games and the entrances to all areas of the establishment; and electronic systems for table games that monitor the exact amount wagered minute by minute and alert operators of any anomaly.

In the 1990s, real estate investors and hotel chains began purchasing up casinos with the intention of running them legally without mob interference. With deep pockets, these new owners were able to out-compete the old mob guard and eventually bought out most of the existing casinos. Today, Las Vegas continues to be the largest concentration of casinos, but there are many more across the country and around the world.