When you think of casinos, images of glitzy, twinkly spaces abound. You walk into one brimming with confidence and your wallet filled with money, with plans to play some sensible games, have a few drinks and maybe try your luck at winning a jackpot. Instead, hours later you’re wondering where the time went and what happened to your bankroll. That’s because casinos are designed to lure people in and keep them there. They use lights, sounds and even physical design to encourage players to gamble more than they can afford.

Casinos also employ mathematicians and computer programmers to determine the house edge and variance for each game. These experts are known as gaming mathematicians and analysts. These figures help the casino determine how much it can make off of each bet and ensure that players do not lose too quickly. In addition to this mathematical analysis, casinos are required by law to keep a certain percentage of their bets as cash reserves. This cash reserve is then used to pay winners.

In an attempt to take the sting out of losing, casinos offer reward programs that see customers earning points for every dollar they spend, even if they lose. These rewards can be redeemed for things like free meals and hotel stays. This creates a situation where the customer doesn’t have to leave the casino to meet basic human needs and thus increases their likelihood of returning and gambling more money.