Casino (plural casinos) are public places that offer a variety of gambling activities, especially games of chance. Some of them are more elaborate, such as the elegant spa resort of Baden-Baden in southwestern Germany, which was first opened more than 150 years ago and inspired by baroque flourishes in the Palace of Versailles and described by German actress Marlene Dietrich as “the most beautiful casino in the world.” Others are more modest, such as the illegal pai gow parlors of New York City’s Chinatown. Most casinos have some form of customer loyalty program, where patrons receive free items or services based on their spending and gaming habits.

A casino is also a place that offers a wide range of other entertainment and recreational activities, including stage shows, restaurants, and bars. The modern casino industry is characterized by the proliferation of these facilities, which are often located near airports or other major transportation hubs and offer luxury accommodations, fine dining, and shopping.

In addition, the majority of casino profits come from a small percentage of high-stakes gamblers who can make or lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in one session. Other significant sources of revenue are the rake taken from poker and other card games, and from slot machines that require low stakes but produce high rates of return.

Like other businesses in a capitalist economy, casinos are in business to make money, and successful ones rake in billions each year for their owners, investors, corporations, and Native American tribes. Because of the large amounts of currency handled in a casino, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently; this is why most casinos spend a great deal of time and money on security measures.