How Casinos Trick Rationally Rational People

Casino is a place where you can find top-notch hotels, spas, restaurants and live entertainment. It also has a variety of games and gambling options. But how do casinos trick otherwise rational people—people who work hard for their income and make reasoned financial decisions on a daily basis—to throw hundreds or even thousands of dollars away based on the literal roll of the dice, spin of the wheel or draw of the cards?

Gambling is fun. It’s a form of socialization and can help relax people. It can also be therapeutic and help manage feelings of sadness or anger. But it’s important to know that you can’t win all the time.

In fact, the odds of winning a casino game are extremely low. Every game gives the house a mathematical expectancy of profit, and it’s very rare for a patron to beat that expectation, at least over the long run. To maximize profits, casinos hire mathematicians and computer programmers to determine the odds of winning for each machine and then design the game to take advantage of those odds.

Besides designing the games, the casinos must do everything they can to keep customers happy. They must create a euphoric atmosphere by wafting the scents of food and other pleasantries throughout the building. They also want to encourage players to drink, as booze lowers inhibitions and clouds judgment, so they serve alcoholic beverages nonstop. They don’t even have clocks in the casino, because they want patrons to lose track of time and continue betting their money on the next lucky roll or spin of the wheel.

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