A casino is a place where people gamble on games of chance. It might sound like a place where your grandmother takes the weekend bus trip with her friends, but it is actually a very large business that provides billions of dollars in profits each year.
The most famous casinos are in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, but there are many others around the world. They offer a variety of entertainment, including musical shows, restaurants, shopping centers and elaborate theme parks. The primary source of revenue, however, is from gambling. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, poker and other table games bring in the money.
Initially, organized crime figures provided the funds for many casinos. But mobsters weren’t satisfied with just providing the money, they got involved in operations and began to dominate gaming in Reno and Las Vegas. This led to federal crackdowns, and the mob’s involvement in casinos faded away as legitimate businesses bought them out.
There are some exceptions, of course. In South Africa, for instance, the Rio Casino Resort in Klerksdorp has the distinction of being one of the largest casinos in the world, with a staggering 165,000 square feet dedicated to the game of choice.
Most casinos have very similar security operations, with a physical force that patrols the premises and a specialized surveillance department that monitors the action. They are not immune to crime, but their size and the lack of windows and clocks (which help players avoid the distractions of time) make them harder targets for criminals than a typical mall or office building.