What Makes Casinos So Intoxicating?

The casinos featured in this article offer the best of all worlds – top-notch hotels, spas, restaurants and live entertainment. Some are also known for their gaming options, which range from classic table games to state-of-the-art slot machines. You can even earn reward points at some casinos, which is an effective way to offset any losses you may incur while gambling.

Despite the fact that the house always wins, the casino experience is a lot of fun. Something about the lights, the clinking of chips and the excitement of betting is intoxicating. This atmosphere is what draws people in and keeps them coming back. But what is it about the casino that makes otherwise rational people—people who work hard and make reasoned financial decisions on a daily basis—throw hundreds or even thousands of dollars away based on the roll of a dice, the spin of a wheel or the draw of a card?

Casino is one of the first films to capture the thrill and glamour of the modern gambling industry. This Martin Scorsese movie stars Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci as mobster-turned-casino owners, Ace and Nicky. The two actors are a perfect match and the film is riveting from start to finish.

In the real world, mobsters once owned most of the major casinos in the United States, but federal crackdowns on mob involvement and the threat of losing their gaming license at even the slightest hint of mob involvement meant that legitimate casino businesses could outlast the mafia and thrive without its protection. The result was that mobster-owned casinos were eventually bought out by real estate investors and hotel chains that had the deep pockets to buy out their mobsters and run the casinos without the threat of mafia interference.

Security in a casino begins on the floor, where the staff keep an eye on the patrons to spot cheating and stealing. Dealers are trained to quickly spot blatant tricks like palming, marking and switching cards or dice, while pit bosses and table managers have a broader view of the table and can watch for a change in betting patterns that may indicate a patron is trying to steal money from other tables. Elaborate surveillance systems provide a high-tech eye-in-the-sky, with cameras watching every table, window and doorway and able to be adjusted by employees in a room filled with banks of monitors.

The biggest profit generators in a casino are the slot machines and video poker. These games use random number generators to determine the outcome of each spin, and can be adjusted by the operator to generate a certain amount of money per hour. Many casinos also offer loyalty programs, which allow players to rack up points that can be redeemed for food and drinks. This is a great way to dissociate gambling from spending real money, and can help the gambler avoid the sunk cost fallacy.