Sun. May 19th, 2024

A casino is a place where gambling games are played. It’s also a place where people can go to celebrate a win or commiserate over a loss. Some casinos add other forms of entertainment like restaurants and shows, but gambling is the focus.

Casinos have been around for over a century. The first was the Hippodrome, opened in 1900 in London, England. It was an elegant venue that drew royalty and aristocrats from all over Europe. Today, the world’s most famous casino is the Monte Carlo in Monaco. It draws visitors from all over the world to its tables, restaurants and gambling floors.

While luxuries like musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and lavish hotels help draw visitors, casinos would not exist without the billions of dollars in profits made by slot machines, blackjack, poker, roulette, craps, keno and other gambling games. The word “casino” is derived from the Italian term for little house, which originally referred to a small clubhouse where members would meet socially.

Historically, the Mafia had control over many of the best casinos in America, especially in Reno and Las Vegas. Mafia money brought huge jackpots to casino players, but it was often illegally diverted through other illegal activities such as extortion and drug dealing. As mob control waned in the 1950s, real estate investors and hotel chains bought out their interests and started running casinos independently from the mob. Today, federal crackdowns on mob involvement and the threat of losing a gaming license at even the slightest hint of Mafia connection ensure that legitimate casino businesses keep the mob away from their gambling cash cows.