A casino is a place where people can gamble and play games of chance. Casinos can also feature restaurants, bars, entertainment and other attractions. The word comes from Latin, meaning “house of games.” The first casinos were places where various gambling activities took place. Nowadays, the term usually refers to a large, fancy establishment that houses many different types of gambling activities and offers various other luxuries to attract visitors.
Gambling and luxury go hand in hand, and the most famous casinos are renowned for both. The Bellagio in Las Vegas, for instance, is known for its spectacular fountain shows and luxurious rooms. But there are plenty of other famous casinos, from the Casino de Monte-Carlo in Monaco to the Casino Lisboa in Lisbon.
The earliest casinos were illegal and operated by organized crime figures. Mob money helped them become successful and drew in huge numbers of tourists from around the country and the world. As the casinos grew in size and popularity, the mobsters became more involved and tried to control them. They even took full or partial ownership of some and used their influence to rig the results of games. Federal crackdowns and the possibility of losing a gaming license at even the slightest hint of mob involvement forced the mobsters out of the business.
Modern casinos have a physical security force and a specialized surveillance department, which monitors all activity through cameras mounted on the ceiling (also known as the eye in the sky). The cameras are connected to a monitoring center that can instantly alert the police to suspicious or definite criminal behavior. The specialized security departments work together closely to prevent crime and keep the public safe.