After Goodfellas brought organized crime to the mainstream, gangsters were replaced by real estate investors and hotel chains that saw the opportunity to profit from gambling. The mob had to move out of casinos, though, as the threat of federal crackdowns and revocation of gaming licenses at the slightest hint of mob involvement made it very risky for them to own such cash cows. The mob also did not have the money to make up for any losses, so they moved on.
Casinos are designed to make gamblers feel euphoric, and the lighting, music, and smells are used to achieve this effect. They use scented oils in the ventilation system to create a pleasant fragrance that encourages players to continue gambling, and they play music at a volume that is designed to keep people on the edge of their seats. They also give away free gifts, called comps, to loyal customers who spend a lot of time playing at their facilities.
Gambling is mostly a game of chance, with some games containing an element of skill such as blackjack or video poker. However, there is always an advantage given to the house by the odds of winning, which are mathematically determined and can be measured in terms of expected value or, more accurately, the house edge.
A casino’s advantage is so great that it is rare for a patron to win more than the casino can afford to pay out. In order to offset this, casinos often offer high-stakes bettors comps such as free show tickets, hotel rooms, reduced-fare transportation, and other lavish inducements.