A casino is a gambling establishment that offers a variety of games of chance for the public to enjoy. Although musical shows, lighted fountains, and shopping centers help draw in gamblers, the casinos would not exist without the billions of dollars in profits that are generated by the games themselves. Slot machines, roulette, craps, keno, blackjack and other games of chance make up the bulk of a casino’s income.

In the United States, there are more than 3,000 casinos with over 1 million patrons entering them each year. The largest concentration of them is in Las Vegas, Nevada, with many more located on Native American reservations and outside of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Casinos also operate on cruise ships and in various states that have legalized them.

To encourage gamblers to spend more money, casinos offer a variety of free perks. These perks, which are known as comps, range from free hotel rooms to discounted food and show tickets. Some of the best known casino comps are given to the biggest bettors, who can receive airline tickets, limo service and even entire vacation packages.

As casinos gained popularity, they began to attract organized crime figures who had money to burn and were willing to risk the taint of gambling’s seamy past. The mafia invested in casinos, taking sole or partial ownership of some and using their influence to manipulate the results of games. Federal crackdowns and the threat of losing their gaming licenses at even the tiniest hint of mob involvement eventually forced the mafia out of the business.

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