When you think of Casino, you probably picture one of the megaresorts in Las Vegas—a massive hotel and entertainment complex blazing with neon lights and fun. But a casino can also be a small business defined more by the types of gambling it offers than by glitz and glamour. Regardless of the size, the majority of casinos have one thing in common: they all make money.

Successful casinos rake in billions each year for their owners, investors, and Native American tribes as well as state and local governments. In addition, they provide much-needed income to their employees and bolster the economies of cities and states in which they operate. But there’s one thing you should know before you gamble: the house always wins.

Unlike other forms of gambling, casino gaming involves social interaction. Players are either directly interacting with other people, as in the case of poker or blackjack, or surrounded by other gamblers while playing slot machines. The result is a manufactured, euphoric experience that keeps people coming back for more. Combined with dazzling lights, the smell of scented oils, and music that is designed to be energizing or soothing, this atmosphere creates an illusion of success that motivates gamblers to keep playing.

Many casinos have special rooms reserved for high rollers, who spend tens of thousands of dollars on their games in a single visit. In exchange for their hefty wagers, these patrons are given comps such as free or discounted meals, drinks, shows, and other services.