The Dark Side of Casinos Revealed

A casino is an establishment for certain types of gambling. These include table games such as baccarat, blackjack, and roulette; slot machines; video poker; and lottery-type games such as keno or craps. Some casinos also offer sports betting and horse racing. Some casinos are integrated with hotels, restaurants, and other tourist attractions.

In the United States, the term casino is generally used to refer to a large facility with one or more gambling tables and associated equipment. Casinos are sometimes combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and/or cruise ships. The gambling establishments are licensed and regulated by state governments.

Casinos make their money by taking a percentage of all the money bet by patrons. This is called the house edge. The percentage of the money the casino keeps is mathematically determined by odds (with some exceptions, such as card counting). The mathematicians who work in casinos to calculate these probabilities are known as gaming mathematicians or gaming analysts.

While free drinks, clubs, pools and concerts draw in the crowds, a casino’s primary income comes from gambling. Slot machines, baccarat, blackjack, craps, and other games of chance provide the billions of dollars that casino owners rake in every year. But there is a dark side to the business that has been exposed by criminal investigations and media reports. In the 1950s, as casinos grew in popularity, many legitimate businesses were reluctant to get involved in the industry because of its seamy image. Then organized crime began pouring cash into the businesses, taking sole or partial ownership and even directing operations through intimidation of players and casino personnel.