A casino is a place where certain types of gambling take place. The modern casino is like an indoor amusement park for adults, with the vast majority of the entertainment (and profits for the owners) coming from gambling. Although stage shows, shopping centers and lavish hotels may help draw in customers, casinos would not exist without games of chance. Slot machines, black jack, roulette, craps and keno are among the many popular choices.
There are no hard figures on how many people visit casinos worldwide, but the numbers are huge. In 2002 alone, according to the American Gaming Association, about 51 million Americans visited a casino. The number of visitors outside the United States is difficult to estimate, but it is almost certainly double that figure.
In the past, many casinos were financed by mafia money. Mobster money poured into Nevada casinos in the 1950s, helping establish Sin City as the world’s leading gambling destination. But legitimate businessmen feared getting involved in the gambling industry, which had the taint of “vice” attached to it. The result was that mobsters controlled the bankrolls of many casinos and even took sole or partial ownership.
The most famous casino in the world is probably the Bellagio in Las Vegas. But there are many more famous casinos, from the Casino de Monte-Carlo to the Casino Lisboa in Lisbon. Some of the world’s top casinos feature opulent architecture and lavish decor, while others focus on high-tech security systems.