What is a Casino?

A casino is a public place where people can gamble and play games of chance. The modern casino adds a number of luxuries to the gambling experience, including restaurants, free drinks and stage shows, but the basic idea is the same: People place bets against the house and hope that luck, skill and good sense will win them money.

The casinos of today are often built in the most luxurious locations in the world, but they all have one thing in common: gambling is the main attraction. Slot machines, roulette, blackjack, baccarat and poker are among the most popular games. Some casinos also offer more specialized entertainment, such as sports betting or keno.

Something about gambling (probably the huge amount of money involved) seems to encourage people to cheat or steal, which is why casinos spend a lot of time and effort on security. Dealers focus on their own game and can easily spot blatant cheating, while pit bosses and table managers watch the entire floor for suspicious betting patterns. And high-tech “eye in the sky” cameras keep an eye on every window and doorway.

The Mob ran casinos in the 1950s and 1960s until federal crackdowns and the threat of losing a license at even the slightest hint of Mafia involvement kept legitimate businessmen away from the gambling industry. But hotel chains and real estate investors with deep pockets eventually realized the potential profits of running their own casinos without mob interference.