What Is a Casino?

A Casino is a gambling establishment in which people gamble on games of chance. The modern casino is a glitzy entertainment complex with its own hotel, shopping centers, theaters and restaurants. Its lighted fountains and elaborate themes are meant to draw in the crowds, but casinos would not exist without their main draw: gambling. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and keno provide the billions of dollars in profits raked in by U.S. casinos every year.

Unlike the glitzy Las Vegas strip, elegant Baden-Baden in Germany’s Black Forest first opened its doors 150 years ago to royalty and aristocracy. Today it’s the stomping ground for tuxed-up millionaires with their own yachts, who hang out in private salons (or super-private ones if they’re higher rollers). James Bond fans may recognize this opulent casino from hit movies like Never Say Never Again and GoldenEye.

While legitimate businessmen were reluctant to invest in casinos because of their seamy reputation, organized crime figures had no such qualms. Mafia money flowed steadily into Reno and Las Vegas, and mobster heirs eventually took sole or partial ownership of some casinos.

A casino’s security is a major concern, with many measures in place to prevent theft and fraud. A physical security force patrols the casino floor, and a specialized department monitors closed circuit television cameras throughout the facility. In addition, staffers are trained to spot blatant cheating techniques such as palming, marking cards or switching dice.

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