Casinos Offer More Than Just Gambling


Whether you hit the slots, play blackjack or throw dice at the craps table, casinos are a great place to scratch your gambling itch. But they also offer a lot more than just gaming. Many of them feature hotels, restaurants, bars, non-gambling game rooms and other amenities to appeal to the entire family. Some even offer a bit of history and culture.

While the modern casino may look like an indoor amusement park for adults, most of its billions in profits come from games of chance. Slot machines, roulette wheels, blackjack, poker and baccarat are just a few of the games that provide the profits that casino owners use to build their extravagant hotels, lighted fountains and shopping centers.

Although the notion of a casino is almost as old as civilization itself, the first modern casinos began to appear in the 16th century during a European gambling craze that saw aristocrats flock to private clubs known as ridotti [Source: Schwartz]. The popularity of these venues prompted governments around the world to change their gambling laws.

While legitimate businessmen were hesitant to get involved with casinos due to their seamy image, mobster money soon flowed into Reno and Las Vegas. Mafia owners became heavily invested in their casinos, taking sole or partial ownership and directing the operations of their properties. This involvement also allowed the mobsters to influence the outcomes of some games by threatening casino staff. In addition to their rake, or commission, on games, casinos often give out free goods and services, known as comps, to players who spend a significant amount of time and money playing at their establishments.