A casino, also known as a gaming house or gambling establishment, is a facility for certain types of gambling. Casinos are often combined with hotels, restaurants and retail shops. Some casinos are owned by governmental organizations, while others are independent. The exact origin of gambling is unknown, but it is widely believed that it has existed in many societies throughout history.

Like other businesses, casinos must make money to survive. This means they must cover all costs and turn a profit, or at least not lose more than they can afford to lose. Each game in a casino has a built in advantage for the house, which can vary from game to game but is usually no more than two percent. This advantage is referred to as the “house edge,” and it ensures that the casino will make a profit over time.

The advantage for the house is balanced by a number of different factors, including the skill level and experience of players, the type of game played, and how much is wagered per bet. To manage this balance, casinos hire mathematically trained people called gaming mathematicians and analysts to monitor games, look for anomalies, and recommend changes to game rules.

In addition to these professionals, most casinos have security staff whose job it is to watch over the patrons and games. Security personnel patrol the casino floor, and some have catwalks in the ceiling that allow them to look down through one way glass at table games and slot machines. Casinos also use video cameras and computer systems to supervise games.