What is a Casino?
Casino, in the modern sense of the word, refers to a place where gambling is legal and where people can play a variety of games of chance such as roulette, blackjack, baccarat, poker, and others. These establishments have a unique atmosphere that appeals to all types of gamblers, from the curious tourists to the snazzy high rollers who crowd the tables. Casinos have a certain palatial panache, with their massive halls and aisles, unique ornamentation, and brilliant lighting that creates an alluring atmosphere.
The history of the casino dates back to ancient times, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice found at archaeological sites [Source: Schwartz]. In the 16th century, the gambling craze in Europe brought about the development of a type of facility called a ridotto, where rich patrons could indulge in various forms of gambling in one place. The Ridotto in Venice was the world’s first government-sanctioned gambling house, and it marks the birthplace of the modern casino.
Although casinos are not legal everywhere in the United States, their popularity draws tourists from all over the world. Many American cities have casinos, and in the 1980s and 1990s, some states began allowing riverboat casinos and Native American casinos on their reservation lands.
The success of the casino industry has also led to a boom in organized crime, as mobster money flows into Reno and Las Vegas. The mafia’s presence is felt throughout the casinos of Nevada, where they have full or partial ownership and control of some. They are the major financial backers of most casino operations and are often the only ones who have enough cash to pay for flamboyant architectural features like fountains, towers, and replicas of famous buildings.