Whether your grandmother enjoys taking weekend bus trips with her friends to play bingo or test her mettle at poker tournaments, casinos are all about letting loose. With flashy decor, upbeat music and restaurants that serve free drinks and stage shows, they’re places designed to provide a rush of adrenaline as patrons play a variety of games of chance for real money.
As the opening sequence of Casino suggests, however, casinos are not just about entertainment; they’re about a worldview that encourages otherwise rational people to spend their hard-earned salaries on speculative roll of the dice or spin of the wheel. In a scene that echoes Goodfellas’ Copacabana interlude, Casino’s first act plunges us into the machinations of the Tangiers casino, with its hidden rooms and secret code for skimming off cash. It’s an enthralling, brilliantly constructed sequence that underscores the movie’s unsettling view of Vegas life as a system of institutionalized grift.
The movie’s other early set piece, a whirling sequence in which the casino’s ace gambler Ginger flits from one table to the next and seduces a huddle of men, is just as bravura, albeit with a sensibility less exuberant and more rueful. The energy spikes, but Stone’s performance reflects the underlying cynicism.
Casinos aren’t just about gambling; they’re also about hotels, events and group business. Pursuing competitive ads in sister markets or in similar areas is a great way for casinos to increase visibility among event planners and earn new group bookings.