A casino is a building where people gamble and play games of chance. The casino has many attractions beyond its gambling, including hotels, restaurants, spas and entertainment.
Initially, legitimate businessmen were reluctant to get involved with casinos because of their seamy mob connections. But organized crime figures had lots of cash from their drug dealing and other illegal rackets, so they invested in casinos and even took sole or partial ownership. Mob influence in casinos eventually diminished as real estate developers and hotel chains with deep pockets bought out the gangsters. In addition, federal crackdowns on mobsters and the threat of losing a gaming license at the slightest hint of mafia involvement have kept mob money out of casino operations.
Something about the atmosphere of a casino – perhaps the large amount of money that is always present – seems to encourage cheating and stealing. That’s why casinos spend a lot of time, effort and money on security. There are obvious things like cameras and a separate room full of banks of security monitors, but there are also more subtle ways to prevent fraud. For example, table game chips have built-in microcircuitry that enables casinos to monitor betting amounts minute by minute and warn them of any suspicious activity; roulette wheels are electronically monitored to quickly discover statistical deviations.
Although casino revenues add to a town’s economy, critics point out that local expenditures for addiction treatment and lost productivity due to compulsive gambling offset any economic benefits. Additionally, casino patrons tend to be less likely to gamble when they’re in a sober state of mind.