A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games of chance and specializes in serving gamblers. While casinos may offer stage shows, free drinks and luxurious hotels to attract customers, they make their money by raking in billions of dollars in profits from gambling activities. Historically, casinos have been run by criminal syndicates with deep pockets from drug dealing and other illegal rackets. Mob money flowed steadily into Nevada casinos in the 1950s and 1960s, and the mafia even took sole or partial ownership of some establishments.
Today, casinos employ sophisticated technology to keep tabs on their patrons and the games themselves. Video cameras and electronic monitoring systems provide a high-tech “eye in the sky” that lets security people see every table, window and doorway, enabling them to detect cheating or other violations of the rules. In addition, specialized equipment allows them to see the exact amounts of bets placed on each game minute-by-minute and spot any statistical deviation.
On the floor, a casino’s security begins with its employees, who are trained to look for a variety of suspicious behavior. Dealers focus on their games and can spot blatantly obvious cheating tactics, like palming or marking cards, or the more subtle, but equally dangerous, practice of switching dice or betting patterns. Pit bosses and table managers watch over table games with a wider view, making sure that players are not stealing chips or influencing each other’s decisions.