A casino is a place where you can play a variety of gambling games. Some casinos also have restaurants, resorts, hotels, non-gambling game rooms, theaters and other amenities. While these features help draw in customers, the casino business depends primarily on gambling. The glitz, glamour and money that you see in movies and television about casinos are mostly from Las Vegas, but there have been many smaller, more modest places that house gambling activities that would still be called casinos.
Casinos have a lot of controls to make sure that players aren’t cheating. For instance, dealers wear aprons that don’t let them slide chips into their pockets. They also can’t wear watches that will conceal a hidden chip behind it. And when a dealer moves chips to and from the table, they must show their palms, so that someone can’t steal them.
Most games in casinos are games of chance, with a small element of skill (such as in poker), but the house always has an advantage. The advantage is known as the house edge, and it is the source of the billions in profits raked in every year by casinos around the world.
In the beginning, casinos were places where legitimate businessmen were reluctant to invest because of their seamy reputation. But organized crime figures had plenty of cash from extortion and other illegal rackets, and they funded the casinos that soon dominated the Strip in Nevada. They also took sole or partial ownership of some casinos, and they influenced gaming outcomes by threatening casino employees.