A casino is a building or room where gambling activities take place. The term may also refer to a specific game of chance, such as blackjack or roulette. Regardless of the specifics, all casinos are designed to attract gamblers and offer them a wide range of luxuries. These can include free drinks, stage shows and dramatic scenery.

It’s difficult to put a number on how many people visit casinos, but it’s likely more than 51 million people visited a casino domestically in the United States in 2002, and probably double that figure worldwide. As the world’s disposable income increases, so will the number of people who visit casinos.

Modern casino security starts on the ground floor, where employees watch patrons and their actions closely. They can spot blatant cheating in the way a person holds a card or rolls a dice, and they can quickly recognize betting patterns that suggest a pattern of collusion. In addition, high-tech “eyes-in-the-sky” systems allow casino security workers to monitor the action in a room full of security monitors that can be adjusted to focus on suspicious patrons.

In the early days of Las Vegas and Reno, organized crime figures provided much of the money that fueled these casino ventures. The gangsters had lots of cash from their drug dealing, extortion and other illegal rackets and were willing to risk the taint of gambling, which was still illegal in most states at the time. However, as the business gained in popularity and legitimate businesses bought out the mob’s interests, mafia involvement became less and less of a factor in the success of casinos.