A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games of chance and other forms of entertainment. It may be glitzy and glamorous, but it also has a history of seediness and pitfalls. The word itself derives from the Italian word for little clubhouse, and early casinos often were simply a place where locals could gather to gamble.
In modern American casinos, slot machines and video poker machines are the financial backbone. They provide fast-paced, low-stakes action and have the advantage of being adjustable for any desired profit margin. The tables are where the money is, however, and most casino patrons want to be involved in that action. Casinos offer a wide variety of table games, including craps, blackjack, roulette, and poker. They may also include Far Eastern games such as sic bo (which spread to several European and American casinos during the 1990s) and fan-tan.
As with all forms of gambling, casino patrons and staff are sometimes tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. To prevent this, casinos employ extensive security measures. These usually begin on the casino floor, where employees keep an eye on the games and patrons to detect blatant cheating or other suspicious behavior. Casinos also use technology to monitor games themselves. For example, some betting chips contain microcircuitry that interacts with electronic systems to enable casinos to oversee the precise amounts being wagered minute-by-minute and warn them of any deviation from expected results.