Casinos are establishments where people play games of chance for money or other prizes. These may include table games conducted by live dealers such as blackjack, roulette and baccarat, or machine-based games like video poker or slot machines. They may also offer other types of gaming such as tournaments where players compete against each other. People who visit casinos often enjoy socialization with friends and can participate in activities such as eating, drinking, watching live shows or listening to music. These activities can help relieve stress, and as long as they are undertaken with caution and responsibility, casinos can be a source of entertainment and enjoyment.

In the past, the seamy image of gambling was associated with mobster involvement and control over some of the major casinos in Las Vegas and Reno. Mafia members were willing to finance casinos because they had plenty of cash from drug dealing, extortion and other illegal rackets. In many cases, the mobsters took sole or partial ownership of the casinos and even exerted influence over the results of games through threats to casino personnel.

The legalized casinos of today are much more upscale and sophisticated than the seedy backroom gambling parlors of the past. People who gamble at casinos are usually not mobster-types but average citizens from households with above-average incomes. They are typically middle-aged or older adults with sufficient vacation time and available spending money. Casinos prey on these groups by offering incentives such as complimentary food and drinks, and wheelchairs, scooters and adult diapers for the elderly and infirm.

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