A casino is a place where people play gambling games. Casinos are most famous for their gaming offerings, but they also offer other entertainment such as musical shows and shopping centers. Some of the world’s most famous casinos are the Bellagio in Las Vegas, the Casino de Monte Carlo in Monaco and the Casino Lisboa in Lisbon.
While musical shows, lighted fountains and lavish hotels help draw in casino patrons, casinos would not exist without the games of chance that generate the billions in profits they rake in each year. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and craps all provide the excitement that casino patrons crave, along with a built in advantage for the casino.
Casinos earn their profit by taking a small percentage of every bet placed on their tables and slots, called the house edge. The advantage can be as low as two percent, but it adds up over the millions of bets placed each year. This money allows the casinos to finance their elaborate hotels, fountains, towers and replicas of famous monuments and buildings.
In the early days of the modern casino, the business was often run by organized crime syndicates. Mob money flowed into Reno and Las Vegas, allowing casino owners to expand and renovate in hopes of drawing even more Americans. In some cases, the mobster in charge became the sole or partial owner of a particular casino. Legitimate businessmen were reluctant to associate with the seamy world of gambling, but mobsters had no such hangups. They provided the bankroll, but they also influenced the outcomes of some games and threatened or intimidated casino personnel to control their activities.