After the healthy return on Goodfellas, Scorsese rolled the dice again with Casino. This time he took on the nastiest side of Vegas, and with De Niro and Joe Pesci in the leads, this movie was expected to be a huge hit. It was, but in a different way than the mafia drama had been. While the film is full of bravura set pieces and a lot of raw violence, its sensibility is more rueful than celebratory and attuned to institutional systems of grift.
There are no good guys in this story of crime, corruption, and greed. While some of the characters do get their comeuppance, none of them emerge from the mess entirely unscathed. The movie is less about the story of Sam “Ace” Rothstein than it is a tale of how the mob lost control of Vegas, and how huge gambling corporations grew to dominate the desert city.
Casino is an ode to the seedy underbelly of the gambling world, and it’s a harrowing watch in many ways. But the film is more than just a look back at a dark period in Las Vegas history, it’s also a lesson about how casinos manipulate their patrons to keep them spending money. From the lighting and physical design to the sounds and the rules of the games, casinos are designed to draw you in and make it hard for you to walk away. Here are nine tricks casinos use to keep you gambling.