A casino is a place that allows patrons to wager money on games of chance. Modern casinos offer a variety of other entertainment amenities, such as restaurants and free drinks, in addition to gambling. While musical shows and lighted fountains may draw customers, the vast majority of a casino’s profits stem from its games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and baccarat provide the billions of dollars that make up a casino’s bottom line.
The earliest casinos were mobster-owned and operated, and organized crime figures still provide much of the cash that supports today’s casinos. However, the mob’s ties to illegal rackets and their seamy image have led many legitimate businessmen to stay away from the casino industry. In the 1950s, large real estate developers and hotel chains realized that they could make more money with casinos than mobsters did. They bought out the mobsters and diversified their holdings, making them into more than just gambling operations.
Modern casinos rely on technology for security and game supervision. A high-tech “eye in the sky” surveillance system provides a clear picture of all activity within the casino, and security staff look for anomalies that might indicate criminal behavior. The routines of casino table games are also monitored by computer systems, and statistical deviations from the expected results are immediately noticed. A number of other sophisticated technologies enable a casino to oversee its games minute by minute, and warn patrons if they are close to breaking the bank.