Whether it’s the glittering lights of Las Vegas, the shuttle buses crammed with tourists in Atlantic City, or the Chinese pai gow parlors in New York’s Chinatown, casino gambling is one of the most competitive and lucrative industries around. But it’s also an industry where the house always wins.

As such, casinos have a number of built-in advantages that ensure they’re not giving away free money. That’s why casinos spend so much time, effort and money on security. Elaborate surveillance systems give casino personnel an “eye-in-the-sky” view of every table, window and doorway. Security workers can even focus on suspicious patrons by adjusting their cameras. And if someone is trying to cheat, the casino has video records to review.

In addition to security, casinos use a variety of marketing strategies to attract gamblers. They waft a pleasant scent in their ventilation systems, create a manufactured blissful environment with music and lights, and promote special deals on food and drinks. These are all designed to appeal to the senses and keep people coming back.

But casinos aren’t just competing with each other, they’re competing with non-gambling resorts, on-line gaming, private gambling and an illegal gambling business that’s a lot larger than legal gambling. For that reason, marketers need to understand their audience better than ever before. Demographic information is useful, but it’s not enough to understand what drives people to your casino. You need to know what kind of experience they want and why, so you can provide it.