A casino is a place where people can gamble on games of chance. The games can be anything from blackjack and roulette to video poker and baccarat. The casino makes money by taking a commission from the players, called vig or rake. It is possible for the player to win or lose, but the house always has an edge over the players.
In the second half of the 20th century, casinos began to appear worldwide. They were often linked to prime hotel and dining facilities, as well as live entertainment venues. The most famous casino in the world is probably the one at Monte Carlo, which has been a popular tourist attraction since 1863.
Casinos have also been a favorite spot for celebrities and high rollers. The mob controlled many of them in the past, but as real estate investors and hotel chains got more involved, they were able to buy out the mobsters. Today, federal crackdowns and the threat of losing a license at even the slightest hint of Mafia involvement keep mobster involvement in casinos to a minimum.
Modern casino security is usually divided between a physical force and a specialized surveillance department. The physical force patrols the casino and responds to calls for assistance or reports of suspicious activity, while the specialized department monitors the closed circuit television system. The cameras are usually set up to follow expected patterns of behavior, making it easier for security personnel to spot any deviations from the norm.