When you walk into a casino, the first thing you notice is that people are having fun. The music is blaring, the coins are clinking and the place is buzzing with energy. Although there may be a little tutting from time to time when the tables don’t go people’s way, it doesn’t take long for good vibes to reign supreme again.
The fact that casinos are so profitable, despite the large majority of players losing their money, is testament to the power of the human need for a rush of excitement and a belief that there is always hope. Casinos tap into this need by providing an environment that is filled with games of chance, free drinks and dramatic scenery. They offer a sense of adventure and the opportunity to become rich in the blink of an eye.
Most casinos are built around a theme and use bright colors like red to stimulate the emotions and make it easy for customers to lose track of time. Some casinos even hide clocks on the wall to encourage this behavior. While many people imagine a Vegas-style megaresort when they think of a casino, they come in all shapes and sizes.
Martin Scorsese’s 1995 film Casino focuses on the seedier side of Sin City, contrasting scenes of opulence with the mob ties and corruption of its past. The movie showcases the great acting of Robert De Niro and Sharon Stone as well as the ever-dependable Joe Pesci. Although the violence in Casino is over-the-top (including a torture-by-vice sequence with a popped eyeball and a sound-designed baseball bat beating that had to be trimmed for an NC-17 rating), it conveys Scorsese’s ambivalence about his subjects, leaving viewers with a sense of both nostalgia and despair.