Beneath the varnish of flashing lights and free cocktails, casinos stand on a bedrock of mathematics, designed to slowly bleed patrons of their cash. For years, mathematically inclined minds have attempted to use their knowledge of probability and game theory to turn the tables.
But the truth is that casinos are businesses, not charitable organizations. Like all businesses, they need to make money in order to survive. And as every gambler knows, the house always wins. This is because most gambling games have built-in advantages that ensure that the casino will, on average, come out ahead. These advantages are known as the house edge, and they are uniformly negative for the player.
Because casinos are such profitable businesses, they can afford to give away a lot of comps and special treatment to their high rollers. For example, they often offer high rollers private rooms, special dining areas, luxurious living quarters, free or reduced-fare transportation, and the like. In addition, they may give these patrons a certain amount of money to gamble with. This is called a sign-up bonus, and it is meant to lure in the high rollers.
Casinos also draw on a local population to staff them, and many communities depend on gambling revenues to help finance essential services, fund infrastructure projects, or avoid raising taxes elsewhere. This influx of highly skilled workers has sometimes been used to argue that casinos boost the local economy by bringing down unemployment rates and increasing average wages for the neighborhood.