Whether you love to spin the roulette wheel, pull on your poker face or roll some dice, casinos are a great place to satisfy that gambling urge. Besides games, they also offer glitzy restaurants and bars. Plus, there are plenty of ways to win big!
Gambling probably began in early Mesopotamia, and primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice have been found at ancient archaeological sites. However, the casino as a place for patrons to find a variety of ways to gamble under one roof did not appear until the 16th century, when a gambling craze swept Europe and Italian aristocrats created their own private gaming clubs, known as ridotti.
Today’s casinos are enormous complexes that house many different games and attract huge numbers of people from around the world. They make money by charging a fee to each player, called the vig or rake. This can be very small, less than two percent of each bet, but over time the millions of bets are enough to make a significant amount of money for the casino.
As casinos grew in popularity, organized crime figures took on sole or partial ownership of them. The mob’s experience running illegal rackets like gambling, extortion and money laundering helped them to understand the profit potential of casinos. But federal crackdowns and the risk of losing a license at the slightest hint of mob involvement mean that legitimate casino owners keep the mobsters far away from their cash cows.