A Closer Look at Casinos


A casino is a building where people gamble and play games of chance. Although casinos feature other entertainment such as musical shows and shopping centers, they draw the majority of their profits from gambling. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and poker are some of the many casino games available. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the history of casinos, how they make their money and some of the darker aspects of the business.

Gambling likely predates recorded history, with primitive protodice and carved knuckle bones found at some archaeological sites. But the modern casino as we know it developed in the 16th century, with European aristocrats hosting private parties at clubs called ridotti [Source: Schwartz].

Casinos are a major source of income for local governments and can be very popular tourist attractions. However, the business is inherently risky, and casinos often suffer large losses. Because of this, casino managers carefully scrutinize their finances and try to minimize their risk through tight controls and rigorous auditing.

While most legitimate businesses were reluctant to get involved in the casino industry because of its seamy reputation, organized crime mobsters were eager to invest their criminal funds in Las Vegas and Reno. The mobsters took sole or partial ownership of some casinos, financed expansion and renovations, and even influenced the outcomes of some games by using their mob connections.

The casino business is a highly competitive one, and the competition for gambling dollars is fierce. To keep their patrons happy and coming back for more, casinos frequently offer free or reduced-fare travel, meals, hotel rooms and show tickets to “good” players. These rewards are called comps. Ask a casino employee about how to qualify for comps.