A casino is a facility for certain types of gambling. Modern casinos look like indoor amusement parks for adults, with the vast majority of the entertainment coming from gambling. Slot machines, black jack, roulette, craps, and keno provide the billions of dollars in profit that casinos rake in each year.
The term casino originated in Italy and meant a small villa or summerhouse, or even a social club. But it became associated with gambling, and as the world grew wealthier, casino-related pleasures spread. By the 1920s, many countries had legalized some form of casino gambling.
Casinos are popular because they offer patrons a chance to win money, often based on simple mathematics. Each game has a house edge that guarantees that the casino will make a profit in the long run. The casinos also encourage gamblers to gamble by offering them free drinks and food while they play, and by promoting gambling as an exciting and glamorous activity.
In the early days of legalized Nevada casino gambling, organized crime figures provided much of the capital to open casinos. Mobbers were eager to capitalize on the titillating reputation of the new pastime, and they became heavily involved in casinos, taking sole or partial ownership of some and exerting control over others. But as the industry grew and laws changed, legitimate businessmen with deep pockets bought out the mob and established their own casinos without the taint of organized crime involvement.