There’s something about stepping into a casino that feels a little bit like stepping into an alternate reality. Glittering lights, the sound of slot machines clinking and a rush of excitement fills your senses as you try your luck at games like poker or roulette. But that’s not by accident – casinos are intentionally designed to be fun and exciting places that draw people in. They offer free drinks and comps, music, and a variety of food options to keep you in the building all night long.

A lot of time and money goes into the design of a casino. In the 1990s, a man named Howard Friedman wrote an entire book about how casinos were deliberately designed to make people gamble longer and more often. Friedman’s theory was that if people had any idea of the passage of time they would think about going to the restroom or getting to their car and leaving, but if you remove all indicators of time (like no clocks) then they will be lost in play and stay for as long as possible.

In the modern era, casinos also use technology to help them track and control gamblers’ actions. Some casinos have chip-tracking systems that monitor the exact amount of money being wagered minute by minute and warn about unusual patterns; others have electronic roulette wheels that are monitored regularly to discover statistical deviations from expected results. Casinos also employ a large number of security cameras to monitor patrons and their surroundings.