A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. It may also be combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops and/or other entertainment facilities. The word casino is derived from the Latin casinum, meaning “tokens for a game.” The modern casino is much like an indoor amusement park, with the majority of its profits (and fun) coming from games of chance. Slot machines, roulette, blackjack, poker and other games provide the billions in profits raked in by casinos every year.
The casino industry is one of the most lucrative in the world. But it’s not without its dark side. For example, it’s not uncommon for people to cheat, steal or scam their way into a jackpot. Casinos spend a huge amount of time, effort and money on security.
In addition, casinos attract a lot of people with addictive tendencies. Studies show that compulsive gamblers generate a disproportionately large share of casino profits. But their negative effect on the economy, in terms of lost productivity and health care costs, often outweighs any financial benefits they might bring to a local community.
Mob money flowed steadily into Las Vegas and Reno in the 1950s. But legitimate businessmen were wary of the taint of organized crime and were reluctant to partner with mafia bosses. So the mob sold out to real estate developers and hotel chains, which had deeper pockets than the mobsters and could afford to run their casinos without mob interference.