Whether you’re a seasoned poker player, a fan of slots or just want to see the iconic dancing fountains at the Bellagio, there is something for everyone at a casino. While musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers help casinos draw in customers, casinos wouldn’t exist without games of chance. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and keno are the games that create the billions of dollars in profit casinos rake in every year.
Gambling most likely predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved knuckle bones found in archaeological sites around the world. But the modern casino as a central hub for a wide range of gambling activities didn’t appear until about the 16th century in Europe, when a gambling craze swept across the continent and Italian aristocrats gathered at places called ridotti to place bets.
Modern casinos are massive buildings that offer many different kinds of gambling. In addition to traditional casino games such as baccarat, blackjack and poker, they also feature video-lottery machines, sports betting and horse or greyhound racing. They can also include restaurants, theaters and other entertainment facilities.
When the casino business first began to grow, mob money helped to fund its expansion. But the mobsters were not content to simply lend their money. They jumped into the management ranks, took sole or partial ownership of casinos and exerted significant influence on the outcomes of various games. As a result, legitimate businessmen who had no ties to organized crime were reluctant to invest in the business, which has the taint of illegality associated with it.