Whether you’re hitting the slot machines, putting on your poker face at a table or rolling dice on the craps floor, a casino can be one of the most exciting places to indulge your gambling itch. These establishments offer a wide variety of gambling games, along with a host of other amenities that make them more than just a place to bet money.

Merriam-Webster defines a casino as “a building or room used for social amusements, especially gambling.” This is certainly true of the megaresorts that house blackjack, roulette and other table games in Las Vegas, but it’s also a description of the less glamorous places that still allow you to place a bet on whatever odds you want.

Many of these casinos have a reputation for being seedy, and this isn’t necessarily undeserved. Something about the glitz, the glamor and the high stakes seems to encourage people to cheat or steal, even in small ways. But casinos also spend a lot of time, effort and money on security to discourage crime.

Modern casinos use technology to monitor everything from tables and card games to the payouts on slot machines. Casinos can track every bet, minute by minute, and quickly detect any statistical deviation from the expected results. In addition, cameras in the ceiling can give security personnel a high-tech eye in the sky, and these systems are usually linked to a specialized surveillance department that can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons.