In Casino, Robert De Niro and Sharon Stone elicited Oscar-worthy performances as the gamblers Sam “Ace” Rothstein and Ginger McKenna. But the movie goes beyond the opulence and neon lights to lay bare the corruption at its core, extending tendrils to politicians, the Teamsters unions and the Chicago mob. The film, based on an investigative non-fiction book of the same name, is as much a study of human greed as it is a mafia drama.
Casinos rely on more than glitzy hotels, elaborate restaurants and lighted fountains to draw in gamblers and make money. They rely on games of chance like slot machines, blackjack, roulette and craps to earn billions in profits each year. But there’s one thing you should know before you play: nothing is left to luck. Even the most sophisticated gambling establishment has a house edge built in to ensure its profitability.
A casino’s success depends on keeping people gambling, which means they need to keep them comfortable and happy. This is why casinos use a combination of sounds, lights and physical design to create an environment that is inviting but hard to walk away from. They also pump out the scent of scented oils in their ventilation systems and encourage heavy drinking to keep people in the mood to spend.
But a casino’s true power lies in its ability to control the behavior of its patrons. Something about the presence of large amounts of cash encourages people to cheat or steal, rather than relying on blind chance. That’s why casinos invest a huge amount of time, energy and money into security. Casinos rely on everything from cameras in the ceiling to specialized sensors that can detect a faulty coin or suspicious movement. They can also monitor their patrons’ facial expressions and movements to spot potential troublemakers.