What Is a Casino?
A casino is an establishment that offers a variety of gambling games. It may also have restaurants, bars and other amenities. In some countries, casinos are combined with hotels or resorts. Some also offer entertainment, such as stage shows and concerts. The word “casino” is derived from the Italian casona, a country house or summer residence.
In the 1950s, real estate developers and hotel chains realized that a casino could bring them huge profits. While legitimate businessmen were reluctant to invest in casinos because of their seamy image, mobster investors had no such qualms. They poured their mafia funds into the emerging Reno and Las Vegas casinos, taking full or partial ownership in some cases, and exerting considerable influence over decisions made by management. Mob involvement in casinos eventually faded as federal anti-mafia laws were passed and mob money was no longer easily available.
Casinos have a reputation for being fun and exciting places to play, but they are also places where people can become addicted to gambling. Studies have shown that compulsive gamblers generate a disproportionately large percentage of casino profits, and that their behavior erodes the economic value of the gambling industry in a locality. Consequently, most casinos have extensive security measures in place to deter patrons and staff from cheating or stealing. These include surveillance cameras throughout the facility and, in some cases, a high-tech “eye-in-the-sky” system that allows security personnel to view the activities of each table or slot machine through one-way glass.