What You Need to Know About Casinos

Casinos are huge gambling establishments that offer a variety of table games and slot machines as well as restaurants, bars, hotels and other amenities. They are also renowned for their elaborate decor and mindblowing size. Many of the world’s top casinos are located in Las Vegas and feature high-end entertainment, beautiful surroundings and a dazzling array of games.

Something about the nature of gambling seems to encourage people to cheat, steal and scam their way into winning a jackpot, instead of hoping to win by random chance. This is why casinos spend a large amount of time, money and effort on security measures. Security cameras, for example, are an essential part of a casino’s security arsenal.

In addition, many casinos employ a host of other security measures. A specialized security team patrols the premises, and security personnel at every casino table are trained to spot a wide range of improprieties, including blatant cheating. The casino’s security staff is supplemented by the use of a computerized tracking system that allows an employee in a separate room filled with banks of security monitors to observe the entire casino at once, and to focus in on any suspicious patrons as needed.

As for table games, most casinos offer the standard assortment of blackjack, poker, roulette and baccarat. Other popular games include pai gow poker (which spread to European and American casinos in the 1990s), baccarat in its British variant known as chemin de fer, and the traditional Far Eastern games sic bo and fan-tan. In addition, most casinos allow patrons to play against each other at regular poker tables for which the casino either takes a percentage of each pot or charges an hourly fee.

The largest casinos can accommodate thousands of guests and feature many types of gaming activities. Some are even equipped with spas, theaters and other non-gambling attractions. The elegant spa town of Baden-Baden, Germany, for instance, originally opened its casino over a century ago to draw royalty and the aristocracy from across Europe. Its lavish decorations and red-and-gold poker rooms have attracted Marlene Dietrich and countless other celebrities through the years.

As the popularity of casino gambling grew in America in the 1950s, some mafia members decided to take a more active role in running the businesses. These mobster-run casinos were not as squeaky clean as their legitimate counterparts, but they did generate a lot of cash for the owners. Mobster money helped casino owners finance expansion and renovation, as well as attract more patrons. Some mobster operators even took sole or partial ownership of some casinos, and used their mafia muscle to influence the outcomes of specific games. This taint, along with the fact that casino gambling was still illegal in most states at the time, prevented a more widespread expansion of the industry for decades. But the expansion did eventually happen, and today there are more than a dozen legal casinos in Nevada alone. A number of other states allow limited casino gambling, as do some Native American tribes.