A casino is a gambling establishment offering a variety of games of chance and some with an element of skill. Customers gamble by placing cash or casino chips in games such as blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat, and poker. Casinos have security measures in place to prevent cheating or theft by patrons and employees, both in collusion and independently. Often, casinos have security forces on the floor and also a specialized surveillance department that operates closed circuit television to observe casino activity.
Many casinos have a restaurant or cafe, and some even feature nightclubs or other entertainment venues for their customers. In the United States, casinos are most common in Nevada and especially Las Vegas; they are also found in Atlantic City and some in Chicago, Illinois. A few casinos are located in other states where gambling is legal, such as in Oklahoma and Indiana.
Mob money flowed steadily into Reno and Las Vegas in the 1950s, allowing owners to finance casinos and other development projects. The mafia’s seamy image, however, made legitimate businessmen reluctant to invest in casinos. As a result, mobsters took sole or partial ownership of some casinos and used their influence to control other gaming activities. The mobsters also financed some non-gambling operations, such as race tracks and hotels.