A casino is a gambling establishment where people place bets on games of chance. Casinos can be found all over the world and include table games, such as blackjack, poker and roulette, and slot machines. Casinos are popular with tourists and locals, and they generate billions in profits each year. They feature elaborate themes and amenities such as lighted fountains, musical shows and hotels, but the majority of their income comes from gambling.
The word casino was first used in the English language in the 19th century, and it came to be used as a slang term for organized crime syndicates. Mafia members had plenty of money from drug dealing, extortion and other rackets, and they were eager to invest it in casinos. They provided the bankrolls and took sole or partial ownership of some casinos, while exerting considerable control over their operations. Federal crackdowns and mob dissolution eventually drove the mobsters from their cash cows. The mob’s departure allowed legitimate businessmen with even deeper pockets to enter the industry, and they soon realized that the casino business was a lucrative enterprise.
Casinos have long relied on customer loyalty to boost their gross revenues. They offer “comps”—free or discounted entertainment, hotel rooms, food, drinks and other perks—to players who spend significant amounts of time and money playing their games. In addition, they offer low-cost buffets and show tickets to encourage people to gamble more often.