The Casino and Its Dangerous Side


The casino is one of the most popular entertainment spots in America. Your grandmother may enjoy taking weekend bus trips to her local casino with friends. And while lighted fountains, shopping centers and musical shows help draw in the crowds, casinos would not exist without games of chance, which provide the billions in profits that U.S. casinos rake in every year. Slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, keno and video poker are just some of the games that have made casinos famous.

Despite the glamour and excitement of casino gambling, the industry also has its dark side. In the 1950s, gangsters began flooding into Reno and Las Vegas, looking to cash in on the gambling craze that was sweeping the country. While mob money helped these casinos become profitable, federal crackdowns and the risk of losing their gaming license at even the hint of Mafia involvement soon drove out the mobsters and paved the way for legitimate businessmen to take over the casinos.

Modern casino security is usually divided between a physical security force and a specialized surveillance department. The former patrols the premises and responds to calls for assistance or reports of suspicious or definite criminal activity, while the latter operates the casino’s closed circuit television system, commonly referred to as the eye in the sky. Both departments work closely together, and their efforts have been very successful in preventing crime. Nevertheless, because of the large amounts of currency handled in casino casinos, both patrons and staff may be tempted to cheat or steal, either in collusion or independently.