A casino is a gambling establishment where patrons can engage in gambling. Many casinos are combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shopping or other tourist attractions. A casino may also offer live entertainment such as concerts and comedy shows. Some casinos are owned and operated by the government. Others are private businesses.
The most common casino games are craps, roulette, blackjack and video poker. These games have mathematically determined odds that give the house a constant edge over the players. Casinos often add to the excitement of these games by offering complimentary items and drinks, stage shows and dramatic scenery.
Because large amounts of money are handled within a casino, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently. To prevent this, most casinos employ a variety of security measures. Security cameras monitor all areas of the casino and are able to detect suspicious behavior immediately. The camera system is linked to a control room where security personnel can watch the cameras remotely.
Originally, casinos were operated by legitimate businessmen who sought funds to finance expansion and renovation in hopes of drawing more tourists to Nevada. By the 1950s, however, organized crime figures were getting into the act. They provided the capital for casinos, took sole or partial ownership of some of them, and exerted considerable influence over game results through intimidation of casino personnel. As the mob’s presence in Las Vegas and Reno grew, other states legalized gambling and opened their own casinos to compete with Nevada.