I visited Atlantic City during the Labor Day holiday. The weather was perfect and it was very pleasant to walk along the beach wading in the warm water. However, Atlantic City is also known for its casinos. Atlantic City is the Las Vegas of the East Coast.
The casinos are dimly lit, the atmosphere is always filled with cigarette smoke even though there are separate smoking and non-smoking areas, and there is the constant din of the slot machines 24 hours per day. I risked $20 Dollars in a 25-cent slot machine, and cashed out when the total went up to $50 Dollars after several plays — a $30-Dollar profit. Other people around me were not so lucky. I saw several who started with $50 or $100 Dollars and had nothing 30 minutes later. In the $5-Dollar machines, the money goes even faster. One pull with a bet of 3 credits costs $15 Dollars. You can lose $100 Dollars with seven pulls of the handle in less than one minute. No wonder that the casinos are so rich. New Orleans is still a disaster zone full of rubble two years after hurricane Katrina destroyed the city in 2005, but the casinos in Biloxi, Mississippi which were also wiped out, were reconstructed in record time. There is no financial incentive for rebuilding New Orleans, but the casinos would have lost billions of Dollars if they had not been rebuilt promptly.
During my stay in Atlantic City, I paid attention to the players. I tried to figure out why they kept putting coins in the slot machines even though they kept losing. I risked another $20 Dollars, and this time I got nothing. I quit while I was $10 Dollars ahead for my two-day stay. It seems that humans are no more intelligent than fish who go after a shiny lure, get hooked, and become a meal for a fisherman. Casinos have refined the art of taking our money using techniques that take advantage of our greed and our lack of discipline.