A casino is a place where people gamble on games of chance. The majority of these establishments rely on gambling as their primary source of revenue. The profits from games such as blackjack, roulette and craps generate billions in dollars for casinos each year. While lighted fountains, shopping centers and musical shows add to the appeal of a casino, the games themselves provide the bulk of the entertainment and profits.

Unlike home gaming, where the player deals the cards or dice, in a casino game, a dealer handles these duties and is paid a salary. In addition, a casino’s atmosphere is designed around noise and light to encourage excitement and increase the chances of winning. Casinos also offer drinks and snacks to their patrons, and waiters circulate throughout the facility to serve them.

The first modern casinos were built in the United States during the 1950s. Until then, most American gambling took place in saloons and other illegal gambling establishments. After the prohibition ended, gangsters had ample cash from their drug dealing and extortion rackets to invest in casinos. Many of them became involved in the operation of these facilities and were able to influence the outcome of some games. Eventually the mob’s influence faded as real estate investors and hotel chains became interested in the profits from casinos, and federal crackdowns made it harder for them to hide any connection with organized crime. By the 1980s, the only remaining mob-owned casinos were in Reno and Las Vegas.