The Dark Side of Casinos


A casino (or gambling house) is an establishment that allows patrons to place wagers on various games of chance. Modern casinos offer an almost unlimited selection of gambling opportunities, including slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps and baccarat. They generate billions in profits each year. Casinos also feature a variety of other entertainment and dining options, often in a high-end atmosphere. These amenities and attractions draw visitors from all over the world.

While the glitz, glamour and spectacle of a casino are alluring, there is a dark side to the business. Many people are attracted to casinos despite knowing or believing that the chances of winning are small, and many become addicted to gambling. This is why it is important to understand the risks involved before entering one.

Unlike other types of entertainment, casinos make most of their money from gambling. Every game has a built in advantage for the casino, usually less than two percent, which makes it impossible for a patron to win more than the casino can afford to pay. These edge amounts add up quickly, allowing casinos to build elaborate hotels, fountains, towers and replicas of famous landmarks.

For decades, organized crime figures funded the growth of Nevada’s casinos. They invested in the businesses and took sole or partial ownership of them. However, federal crackdowns and the possibility of losing a gambling license at the slightest hint of mob involvement has forced these legitimate businesses to rethink their relationship with the Mafia.