A casino (or gambling house) is a public place where games of chance, such as blackjack and roulette, are played. Many casinos also offer other activities, such as musical shows and all-you-can-eat buffets, but the vast majority of a casino’s profits come from gambling. Slot machines, black jack, craps, baccarat and other games of chance generate the billions of dollars in profits that casinos pull in every year.
The modern casino is a massive complex of gambling rooms, restaurants and hotels. Its floor space can be as large as several football fields, and it is surrounded by lavish accommodations, shops and attractions. A casino’s security measures are extremely tight, and most of its employees are well trained to spot the smallest signs of cheating or collusion between players.
In the early 1950s, casino owners needed extra funds to expand and renovate their properties in Reno and Las Vegas. They turned to organized crime figures, who were happy to help because the Mafia had plenty of money from drug dealing, extortion and other illegal rackets. The mobsters soon became more involved, taking sole or partial ownership of some casinos and manipulating their results to increase their own profits.
Something about casinos seems to encourage people to try to cheat, steal or scam their way to a jackpot. That’s why casinos spend a lot of time and money on security. The most sophisticated casinos use technology to monitor the game-playing activities of their patrons. Video cameras watch each gambler’s betting habits, and electronic systems can oversee each bet minute-by-minute to catch any statistical deviation from expected results.