A casino is a special establishment where you can gamble and play games of chance. These games can include slots, roulette, blackjack, craps, baccarat and poker. Some casinos also offer non-gambling entertainment like shows and restaurants. Casinos are regulated by the government in some countries.
The modern casino is much like an indoor amusement park for adults, with the vast majority of the fun (and profits for the owners) coming from gambling. While musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and lavish hotels help draw in customers, casinos would not exist without games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and keno provide the billions in profit that US casinos rake in every year.
Casinos spend a lot of money and effort on security, and with good reason. Something about the nature of gambling encourages people to cheat, steal and scam their way into a jackpot. This is why casinos invest so much in high-tech surveillance systems and specialized personnel. Security people keep their eyes on the dealers to make sure they aren’t palming cards or marking dice; they monitor betting patterns to spot any anomalies; and electronic systems supervise roulette wheels and other games to detect any statistical deviations from expected results.
Although organized crime figures financed early casinos in Reno and Las Vegas, legitimate businessmen soon realized the potential of this lucrative industry. Hotel chains and real estate investors had more cash than the mob, so they bought out the gangsters and took over their gambling operations. Casinos still have a seamy image, but mafia involvement has diminished and federal crackdowns have kept mobster ownership of casinos to a minimum.