Casino is an establishment where people can gamble. The games are usually slot machines, video poker, and table games. Some casinos also offer other games, such as baccarat, which is popular in Asia. Casinos are often decorated with elaborate themes, and many feature celebrity performers. Some of the biggest casinos in the world are located in the United States.
Historically, casinos have been run by organized crime figures. Mobsters had plenty of money from drug dealing, extortion and other illegal rackets, and they liked the fact that gambling had a seamy reputation. Mob members took sole or partial ownership of casinos, and they influenced the outcomes of certain games. Legitimate businessmen, however, were wary of getting involved with casinos. Federal crackdowns on the mob and the threat of losing a gambling license at even the slightest hint of mob involvement soon forced mobster-run casinos to get out of their business.
Modern casinos have sophisticated security measures. Most have a dedicated physical security force that patrols the premises, and a specialized surveillance department that operates the casino’s closed circuit television system. There are also catwalks in the ceiling that allow surveillance personnel to look down, through one-way glass, on activities at tables and slot machines. In addition, casino security is enforced through rules and procedures, such as requiring players to keep their cards visible at all times. Casinos also use chips instead of cash, which reduces the risk that a player might steal or cheat.