How the Mafia Got Involved in Casino Gambling


A casino is a large building where gambling games are played. Casinos are found all over the world and range in size from massive resort casinos to small card rooms. Casinos generate billions of dollars each year for the owners, investors, and Native American tribes that operate them. They also generate significant revenue for state and local governments in the form of taxes, fees, and other payments. A successful casino can create jobs and bring in other businesses such as restaurants, hotels, retail shops, and entertainment venues.

While casino gambling has existed as long as recorded history, the modern casino as we know it developed in the 16th century during a gaming craze among European nobility. Aristocratic patrons used to gather in private clubs called ridotti where they could gamble and socialize without interference from government authorities. The games that were most popular at these clubs included baccarat, chemin de fer, and the dice game astragali (cut knuckle bones).

Gambling in a casino has a certain social appeal that other forms of gambling do not. Players are often surrounded by other people while they play, and the games are played in an environment that is designed around noise, light, and excitement. Musical shows and lighted fountains add to the attraction, but it is the gambling that brings in the money.

As a result, the mafia became heavily involved in the operations of casinos in Nevada and California. Mobster funds helped finance construction of new casinos and renovation of older ones, and the mobsters took a hands-on approach to running them. They even took sole or partial ownership of some casinos and influenced the outcomes of some gambling games.