A casino (or gambling house) is an establishment where certain types of gambling activities take place. Casinos are most often combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, cruise ships and other tourist attractions. Some states, such as Nevada and Atlantic City, are famous for their casinos. The term casino may also be used for places that host live entertainment events such as concerts or stand-up comedy.
Casinos provide billions of dollars in profits for their owners each year. While musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers may lure patrons in, the majority of casinos’ profits are generated by games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and baccarat make up the bulk of the billions in bets placed every year.
Gambling has had a long and colorful history, including ties to organized crime. Mob money helped to finance the earliest Las Vegas casinos, but the mobsters were not content with just providing the cash. They demanded that they be given sole or partial ownership of the properties and influenced the results of some games.
Modern casinos use a combination of physical security forces and a specialized surveillance department to keep their property safe from criminal activity. The surveillance system uses cameras that allow security personnel to monitor the entire casino floor at once, and can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons. The cameras are connected to a control room that acts as the “eye in the sky” for the casino.