There’s a reason why Casino has won the most Oscars of any movie – besides being a rip-roaring drama about organized crime in Las Vegas, it’s also chock full of gambling fun. The film stars Robert De Niro in a performance that’s both sexy and ballsy, while Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci round out a superb cast. The movie’s no-holds-barred approach to gangsters, casino games and the gambling industry makes it one of the best movies ever made about Vegas.
The movie’s most valuable asset is its look at how casinos stack the deck against unsuspecting patrons. It shows how every game has a built-in advantage for the casino, even video poker, which is supposed to be based on random chance. Casinos take advantage of this statistical edge to earn billions in gross profit each year. Those profits have enabled them to build elaborate hotels, fountains, giant pyramids, towers and replicas of famous landmarks.
Casinos use subtle psychological tricks to put gamblers at ease. The colors on the rugs, walls and gaming machines are designed to calm players down. For example, the slots in the center of a row are painted a soft blue and green while those near the end use bright red to lure players in.
Many casinos offer comps to big bettors, which are free goods and services such as hotel rooms, meals, tickets to shows or transportation to the casino. The benefits are meant to attract and keep large bettors, which in turn increases the casino’s overall profitability. But critics point out that casinos drain local economies by diverting spending from other forms of entertainment and that the high cost of treating problem gambling addicts offsets any economic gain.