What is a Casino?
A casino is a large, luxurious building that houses gambling games of chance and some with skill. The games are played by paying patrons. Casinos make their money through a built in statistical advantage for the house in each game and through a fee known as vig or rake, depending on the game. Casinos use the profits to pay for elaborate hotels, fountains, pyramids and towers, lighted displays, lavish shows, white-tablecloth restaurants, limo service and airline tickets to attract gamblers.
Almost every country changed its laws in the latter half of the 20th century to allow casinos. Today, casinos are a major tourist attraction. From the elegant spa town of Baden-Baden to the glitzy Las Vegas strip, the casinos draw visitors from all over the world.
The gambling business is a booming industry, but like any other business it has its dark side. Many of the casino owners are connected to organized crime, and some are even mobsters themselves. Mobsters initially financed casinos in Nevada and New Jersey as a way to make money on illegal rackets, including drug dealing and extortion. Then, they decided to become involved in the gaming business itself and took sole or partial ownership of casinos. Casinos became a popular destination for mobsters and other criminals, and their seamy reputation made it difficult for legitimate businessmen to get involved. Mobsters also provided the cash for some of the most extravagant casinos in history. These casinos are sometimes called the “palaces of sin,” and are often designed to look as opulent as possible.