A casino is a gambling establishment where people gamble by playing games of chance or skill. The house always has a mathematical edge over the patrons, although some games have a small element of skill (such as baccarat, chemin de fer and blackjack). The house’s profit is made from betting money or chips on outcomes of events, such as roulette or craps. Slot machines and video poker are economic mainstays in American casinos.
The term casino has come to mean a luxurious, sophisticated place that caters to the high-end tastes of wealthy patrons. The Bellagio, for instance, features lavish accommodations, fine dining and breath-taking art installations. It also has a huge selection of casino table games and slots, earning it the reputation of being one of the world’s top gambling destinations. The casino has even been featured in several movies, including the James Bond film Ocean’s 11.
As Nevada legalized gambling in the 1930s, mobster money began flowing into Reno and Las Vegas casinos. But the gangsters were not content with simply providing funding; they wanted to own their own casinos. As the mob’s money dried up, legitimate businessmen with deep pockets took over in Nevada, purchasing the mobsters’ stakes and sometimes taking sole or partial ownership of the casinos themselves. Today, federal crackdowns on organized crime and the risk of losing a casino’s gambling license at the faintest hint of Mafia involvement keep the mob far from the doors of America’s casinos.