A Casino is a gambling establishment offering a variety of games of chance to its patrons. It is a major source of income for some cities and states, and provides entertainment to many people around the world.
While modern casinos are modeled after amusement parks and offer musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate hotels, they would not exist without games of chance. Slot machines, roulette, baccarat, craps, blackjack and other popular games of chance are the source of the billions in profits that American casinos rake in every year.
Casinos are usually operated by a combination of physical security forces and a specialized surveillance department that operates the casino’s closed circuit television system. This is to ensure that the casino’s assets and patron safety are protected from criminal activity. Casino employees are trained to look for a number of possible problems, including palming or marking cards, switching dice and other blatant cheating.
In the early days of the casino industry, organized crime figures provided much of the capital necessary to build and operate large casinos in Las Vegas, Reno and other destinations. Mob money brought a veneer of legitimacy to a business that had long been associated with prostitution, illegal drug dealing and extortion. But the mobsters didn’t stop there; they took control of some casinos and even used their money to influence game outcomes. Some studies have shown that the net value of a casino to a community is negative, due to the shift in spending from other forms of local entertainment and the cost of treating compulsive gamblers.