from the fifth Dominick chronicle, On Satan’s Tail:
Dominick picked the biggest and most brightly lit casino in town. He was here, after all, just passing through, but he might as well observe it. He would have a drink and watch. Gamblers were like animals in a zoo, doing what they do, no matter who is watching. The place wasn’t crowded, but it was loud. He took a stool at the bar and was ignored by everyone except the bartender. Maybe a casino wasn’t a zoo so much as it was a workplace. The patrons could just as well be employees, toiling away at their slot machines and blackjack tables. It certainly looked like work.
The attraction of gambling mystified Dominick. As a general principle it seemed best to avoid situations in which you would most likely end up the loser. True, it was only money at stake, and not even real coin of the realm anymore, but even more abstract chips and charges recorded on plastic cards. There was that luck thing involved again—expectations based upon uncertainty, a surrender to some sort of impersonal fate. Everyone out there on the gambling floor knew that the casino always held the edge. Otherwise they would not be in business. Yet, everyone out there felt confident enough to challenge the odds stacked against them. That was crazy. So what was the draw? Winning, of course—the occasional favorable hand of cards or accidental arrangement of similar images on the screen of a machine and then the accompanying flush of validation, of personal victory and its just rewards, the adrenal rush of no longer being a loser. It wasn’t the money. The addiction was to the sensation that fate had smiled on you, rewarded your persistence, and proclaimed your specialness. As with alcohol or any other high, it was that induced sense of personal specialness that kept the addict coming back—a momentary winner, no matter how much has been lost.