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What Is a Casino?


A casino is a gambling establishment where a variety of games of chance can be played. Although casino owners lavish their patrons with luxuries such as restaurants, shows, shopping centers and hotel rooms, the vast majority of a casino’s profits come from gambling. Slot machines, poker, blackjack, roulette and baccarat are just a few of the games that bring in billions for casinos every year.

The 21st century has seen a proliferation of casinos around the globe. In the United States, Nevada has traditionally been the center of gambling, with Las Vegas and Atlantic City attracting visitors from across the country and around the world. But casinos have also become commonplace in places like Iowa and New Jersey, as more and more states legalized gambling.

Despite the glamorous images of Las Vegas and other casinos, it is not all fun and games in these gambling halls. Studies show that many people who frequent casinos are addicted to gambling, and their losses — from lost productivity at work and home, and the costs of treatment for problem gambling — can offset any economic benefits.

In the past, mob money kept casinos afloat in cities with seamy reputations like Reno and Las Vegas, but mafia bosses weren’t content to just finance casinos; they became involved in management and even took sole or partial ownership of some casinos. Nowadays, legitimate businessmen have more money than the mobsters ever did, and federal crackdowns on mafia involvement have helped keep casinos out of mob hands.