A casino is a place where people can find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof. While glitzy stage shows, restaurants, hotels and other amenities help to draw in patrons, the billions of dollars in profits from games like blackjack, poker, roulette, baccarat, craps and slots are what really make casinos money.
The term casino probably originated in the 16th century, but the idea of a central gambling venue did not fully develop until a flurry of crazes swept Europe during the same period. While gambling certainly predates recorded history, primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found at archeological sites suggest that early civilizations were fond of this pastime.
Today, the average casino is a luxurious, modern facility that uses a variety of tricks to attract and keep patrons. For instance, the lights and noises of slot machines and tables are designed to appeal to the human senses, and the chime-like sounds of coins dropping in slot machines have been tuned to the musical key of C to be pleasing to the ears. Security personnel are constantly observing patrons, and the movements of players on the table follow certain patterns that can be spotted by trained eyes.
The mafia once provided much of the funding for casino development in Reno and Las Vegas, but federal crackdowns on organized crime activity and the fear of losing a gaming license at the slightest hint of mob interference forced legitimate businessmen to step up their investment. Today, casinos are often run by hotel and real estate investors with deep pockets.