What Is a Casino?

A Casino is a gambling hall where various games of chance can be played and winnings are paid out. In addition to the typical gaming tables and machines, many casinos offer restaurants, stage shows and dramatic scenery to attract patrons. While many people think of casinos as luxurious places to gamble, there have been less extravagant places that housed gambling activities and would still qualify as a casino.

Security is a key component of any casino. Dealers have a close eye on each game and can easily spot blatant cheating techniques such as palming cards or marking dice. Pit bosses and table managers have a more general view and watch for betting patterns that may indicate rigging. Elaborate surveillance systems use cameras to monitor every table, window and doorway. These cameras can be adjusted to zoom in on a suspicious patron by security workers in a room filled with banks of security monitors.

As the casino business grew in popularity, mobster money began to pour into Reno and Las Vegas. Mafia leaders had plenty of cash from their drug dealing and extortion rackets and were willing to invest in casinos that they controlled. But federal crackdowns on the mafia and the fear of losing a gambling license at even the slightest hint of organized crime involvement drove legitimate businessmen to invest in casinos, too. Often, these investors bought out the mobsters and ran their casinos without mob interference. Then they started adding luxuries like restaurants and free drinks to help draw customers.