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A casino is an entertainment venue that offers a variety of games of chance. Musical shows, lighted fountains and shopping centers draw people in, but casinos wouldn’t exist without the billions of dollars of gambling profits that games like slot machines, blackjack, poker, roulette, craps, baccarat, and keno generate.

Casinos are also famous for their bright and sometimes gaudy floor and wall coverings that are designed to stimulate and cheer people up. Red is especially popular since it has been shown to make people lose track of time. There are few windows in casino buildings, and clocks are rare. This allows people to spend hours gambling and not realize how much time has passed.

The precise origin of casinos is not known, but they probably developed in the 16th century as a result of the growth of gambling crazes across Europe. Gambling in some form was almost certainly around long before that, however, with primitive protodice and carved six-sided dice being found in ancient archaeological sites.

Casinos are run for profit, and many owners are closely related to organized crime. During the mob era of Las Vegas, mafia figures supplied much of the capital for new casino developments. But real estate investors and hotel chains eventually got in on the action and grew to dwarf the mobsters’ influence. Today, mobsters are kept at bay by the threat of losing their casino licenses for even the slightest hint of criminal activity.