A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games of chance for visitors to enjoy. A large percentage of the profits that casinos rake in every year are from games like slot machines, poker, blackjack, roulette, craps and keno. While musical shows, shopping centers and luxurious hotels might attract the crowds, the gambling machines are what truly drive the business.
The modern casino often resembles an indoor amusement park, with colorful decor and lighted fountains. Many casinos also try to create an upscale atmosphere with expensive carpets and richly tiled hallways. The lighting is usually dimmed to create an intimate setting and a sense of excitement. Patrons are encouraged to drink and gamble while enjoying a meal in one of the restaurants, which offer everything from buffets to steakhouses.
While casinos may be designed around the concept of noise, light and excitement, they are not without their darker side. Cheating and theft are problems that casinos must continually monitor. Security cameras throughout the facility and high-tech surveillance systems help keep tabs on the activity. In addition, casinos have a number of rules and policies that prohibit the use of tobacco, food or alcohol.
Until the 1960s, most American casinos were operated by organized crime gangsters. They were able to finance the casinos with their illegal rackets, which included drug dealing and extortion. However, real estate investors and hotel chains grew increasingly interested in the potential profits of the gaming industry. They were willing to invest millions of dollars in a casino with the hope that it would be profitable. They also hoped that federal crackdowns on mob involvement would prevent them from being shut down.