The word casino comes from the Italian casona, meaning “cloister.” But although a modern casino may look like an indoor amusement park for adults with musical shows and lighted fountains, most of its entertainment (and profits) come from gambling. Games of chance like slot machines, blackjack, roulette and craps generate the billions in profits casinos rake in each year. But before you head to your local casino, you should know how they make money and what to expect.

Security is a huge part of the business. A casino employs many people to monitor its patrons and keep an eye out for cheating or stealing. Security starts on the floor, where dealers keep a close eye on their own game and can spot blatant methods of cheating (palming or marking cards, for example). Pit bosses and table managers oversee tables with a broader view, looking out for shady betting patterns that could signal crooked play.

But something about gambling seems to encourage some players to try to beat the house by cheating, stealing or bribing. For this reason, a good online casino will be licensed and regulated by a government agency and use top-notch encryption technology to protect its players’ personal and financial information. In addition, it should have a variety of payment options and offer prompt, courteous customer service. All of these factors help to ensure that a player’s gambling experience is as safe and enjoyable as possible. We also recommend that you look for a casino with generous bonuses to draw in new customers and reward loyal players.