A casino is a gambling establishment that offers patrons the opportunity to wager money on games of chance. Most modern casinos feature a mixture of gaming machines and table games conducted by croupiers. Most of these games involve some element of skill, but most have a mathematically determined house edge, which is the advantage that the casino has over the players. The house edge can be quite small, but it is enough to make a significant difference in the total amount of money that the casino can afford to pay out as winnings. This advantage is known as the vig or rake, and it is how casinos make money.
Most casinos have a security force that patrols the property and responds to calls of suspicious or definite criminal activity. They also have a specialized department that operates a closed circuit television system, which is often referred to as an “eye in the sky.” This system features catwalks in the ceiling over every table and slot machine, which are monitored by personnel in a room filled with banks of security monitors.
Most casinos use chips instead of actual cash to keep gamblers from feeling uncomfortable about losing large amounts of money. This also makes it easier for security to monitor player betting patterns, as well as to keep track of how much money is being wagered and won. In addition, security personnel often follow players around the floor to make sure that they are not engaging in blatant cheating activities, such as palming, marking or switching cards and dice.