The thrill of a casino combines the possibility of big wins with dazzling lights and cheering music to create an atmosphere that’s unlike any other. Champagne glasses clink, and the place is abuzz with people who are trying their luck at gambling. While some people are a bit more serious about it than others, it’s clear that everyone there is having fun.

The fact is, though, that casinos are businesses. They’re designed to attract and keep customers and make sure that they play for as long as possible. That’s why you won’t find windows or clocks on the floor of a casino; they want to make it impossible for you to lose track of time, so you can keep playing.

Many games of chance have a built-in advantage for the house, which is known as the house edge. This advantage, whether it’s a percentage of the total bet or an expected value, is designed to guarantee that casinos will always earn more than they will lose. To help ensure this mathematical expectation, casinos offer inducements to their customers such as free spectacular entertainment, transportation and luxury living quarters.

Martin Scorsese’s classic movie Casino captures the essence of a casino perfectly. It’s a bit more violent than some of the other movies the director has made, with scenes like De Niro being tortured and threatened with a gun and Joe Pesci’s character getting buried alive in a cornfield, but it never lags or runs out of steam.