Casinos are a great way to get your friends together, have some fun, and relax. Gambling can also help you socialize with your family members and friends, as well as keep your brain in tip-top shape, since you will be thinking about how to carry out the complex strategy you devised to win a game of blackjack or poker. However, it is important to note that gambling is not a profitable activity, and in fact, can be quite detrimental to your health.

Underneath the flashing lights and free booze, casinos are built on a bedrock of mathematics, engineered to slowly bleed patrons of their money. For years, mathematically inclined minds have tried to turn the tables by using their understanding of probability and game theory to beat the system—but they’ve failed miserably.

When someone wins on a slot machine, for instance, bright lights flash and sounds blare, and cheers rise from the machines’ empty seats. This creates a false sense of possibility that will encourage you to continue betting, even though the odds are against you.

To further make you think you’re in control of your money, most casinos will change your cash into colorful discs representing real currency. This dissociates the feeling of spending money from the actual act of doing so, ensuring that you will never feel the effects of your losses—as long as you keep betting more.