Casinos - slots, blackjack, logarithms and evil

In the book SuperCrunchers there is a little insight to the way logarithms and number crunching are used to help pull the wool over our eyes in regards to casinos.

I have never been in a casino, but I imagine they are fun. For some, the little excitement that comes with the pull of a leaver or a throw of a dice is in many cases worth driving miles and miles just to experience. These places look incredible and there is a mystic about them, at least for me.

I used to think that you would walk into a casino and then only when you became a high roller or a whale did you get those wonderful little "comps". You know a free drink or room or show; compliments of the house. To be honest I would love 'comps', who wouldn't.

And that is the point.

According to Eagleman, casinos have the ability to locate you as you enter and place you into a logarithm and regression analysis in order to give the house a prediction as to what your 'pain point' is.

Your 'pain point' is the point at which you are so pissed off or bummed out by how much you have lost that you quit playing the slot and take your almost empty wallet and walk out of the casino. 'Pain points' are to be avoided at all cost to the casino, thus to be able to predict your 'pain point' would be incredibly helpful in order to perhaps give you a gift to reduce the amount of pain you feel. You and I might call these gifts "comps".

This is what is being done. When you and I reach our pain point, an ambassador of the casino is dispatched to you and you are given a comp in hopes that would be enough to keep you happy for just another spin of the wheel, or even another day or trip in the future.

Not only is this smart on the casino's part, but I find it painfully evil. You and I must begin to see that we can so easily be caught up in cycles which we do not even intentionally seek out. Rationally we might even want to avoid certain cycles, such as poverty, but we might just find ourselves fighting with the odds stacked against us so much that we don't stand a chance.

So the next time you get a comp of any sort, feel free to smile, but then realize you might be spending too much at that establishment.