The word Casino conjures up images of glittering lights, clinks of champagne glasses and the excitement of trying one’s hand at chance. While musical shows, lighted fountains, shopping centers and elaborate hotel themes help casinos draw in the crowds, gambling games are what really make them profitable, bringing in billions of dollars every year.

But while most casinos rely on the element of chance to make money, there’s also a fair amount of skill involved in some games. Slot machines, for example, may appear simple: insert money, spin the reels and hope for a lucky combination, but industry people know that there are ways to maximize your chances of winning at these games. For instance, playing video poker requires a bit of strategy, and even some roulette games require you to place your bets at certain times.

Then there’s the history behind casinos. Originally, the mob controlled most of them, but as their fortunes dwindled they began losing control to real estate investors and hotel chains. With the threat of federal crackdowns and loss of gaming license at the slightest hint of mafia involvement, these companies had the deep pockets to buy out the gangsters and run casinos without their interference.