I need to do a good long piece on the casino industry, but here’s a little introduction.

Get that winning feeling! promises this billboard. All casino billboards say the same thing, either explicitly or implicitly: come here to make money. But this is of course a lie. So why do we let them do it?

Though it’s possible you’ll walk out of the Eldorado richer than you walked in, this is unlikely. It’s almost guaranteed that you’ll lose. That’s what a casino is: a place where you lose. The purpose of the casino is to take money from the customers and give it to the house. That’s why it was built. If people don’t lose more than they win, the casino can’t stay in business. The casino exists to take away your money. That’s what it’s for.

Isn’t it weird that casinos are allowed to lie so blatantly to the public? In other industries there is at least a token attempt to enforce some sort of truth in advertising. But with casinos (and state lotteries), the core proposition is perfectly false and everyone lets it go. “Come here to win!” No, that’s exactly the opposite of what’s going to happen.

Why do we let them get away with this?