A casino is a place where gambling is legal and money is exchanged for chips in games of chance or skill. Modern casinos add a host of luxuries to the traditional gamblers’ game such as restaurants, free drinks and stage shows to attract customers. But they would not exist without the billions of dollars that are raked in from gambling on slot machines, roulette, blackjack, poker and baccarat.

Casinos are a major draw for tourists, and the top casinos attract celebrities, politicians and business people. But something about casinos encourages patrons to cheat and steal, either in collusion with staff or on their own. That is why casinos spend a lot of time and money on security. Security cameras are everywhere, and the routines of casino games follow certain patterns. That makes it easier for security people to spot out of the ordinary behavior.

At the beginning of the casino era, organized crime figures funded many Nevada gambling operations. But mobster money ran out and legitimate businessmen realized how much they could make from this lucrative cash cow. Hotel chains, real estate investors and others with deep pockets began buying out the mobsters. Federal crackdowns and the threat of losing a gaming license at even the faintest hint of Mafia involvement mean that casino owners keep the mob at arm’s length from their gambling cash cows today.