A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games of chance and the opportunity to win money. Modern casinos add a lot of extras to draw in customers, including restaurants, shopping centers and dramatic scenery, but the bottom line is still gambling. Whether it’s blackjack, roulette, craps or slot machines, people gamble cash and chips in exchange for the chance to win.
The first casinos were built in Nevada, where gambling was legal. Mob figures had lots of cash from drug dealing and extortion, so they were happy to finance the ventures and take sole or partial ownership. In return, they got to control the casino operations and influence game results. But as time went by, legitimate businessmen with deeper pockets bought out the mob and began to run casinos independently.
Today, casinos are usually large and lavish. The Las Vegas strip is home to the largest concentration of them, but Native American casinos have been responsible for a rise in number outside of the region.
Casinos make their money by charging a commission or ‘rake’ to players who play table games like poker, blackjack and craps. These commissions are a percentage of the total amount wagered. They also make money by selling merchandise to players and running restaurants, bars and theaters.
Because of the large amounts of money handled within a casino, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal. To prevent this, casinos have a wide range of security measures in place. Many have cameras located throughout the property. In addition, casino employees are trained to watch for blatant cheating techniques such as palming and marking.