A casino is a gambling establishment, which also houses other entertainment venues such as restaurants, bars, and live performances. The word is derived from the Spanish word for “gambling house”. Casinos are often located in or combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, and retail shopping. Many casinos offer an array of casino games, such as poker, blackjack, roulette, and slot machines. Some are also known for their dazzling fountain shows and luxury accommodations.
While legit businessmen were hesitant to invest in the newfangled casino concept, organized crime figures saw the opportunity and pumped cash into Reno and Las Vegas. Some mobster money even went into the actual operations of certain casinos, bringing their own personal touch to the seamy gambling industry. They became part owners, lowered the minimum bet amounts, and offered special inducements to big bettors, such as free spectacular entertainment or reduced-fare transportation and hotel rooms.
Casinos are found throughout the world, and most countries amended their laws in the 1980s to permit them. They also began appearing on American Indian reservations, which are not subject to state antigambling statutes. There are estimated to be more than 3,000 legal casinos in the world. The most famous casino in the world is probably the Bellagio in Las Vegas, which features a large fountain show and luxurious accommodations. But it is closely followed by the Casino de Monte-Carlo in Monaco and the Casino Lisboa in Lisbon. The elegant spa town of Baden-Baden in Germany also has a top-notch casino.