A casino is a gambling establishment where patrons can gamble by playing games of chance, or skill. It is also a place where patrons can socialize and eat food and drink. Modern casinos are often huge, elaborate and themed, with musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers, hotels and replicas of famous landmarks. But no matter how elaborate and expensive the facilities, casinos would not exist without games of chance. Slot machines, craps, roulette, baccarat and blackjack provide the billions of dollars in profits that make up the bulk of casino owners’ income.

Security in a casino starts on the floor, where workers keep their eyes peeled for any signs of cheating or other unusual activity. Dealers are heavily focused on their own game and can quickly spot blatant cheating, like palming or marking cards or dice. Table managers and pit bosses have a broader view of the tables, keeping an eye out for any betting patterns that might indicate collusion or other suspicious behavior. They also track their tables’ winnings and losses to be sure that employees are following protocol.

But the true secret to a casino’s success is the money that flows in and out of it. Mobster money provided a steady flow of cash to Reno and Las Vegas during the 1950s, and even today gangsters are still involved in casino ownership to some extent. But legitimate businessmen with deep pockets — such as real estate developers and hotel chains — realized they could get even more out of casinos by controlling them without the mafia’s taint.