There’s something about walking into a twinkly casino, filling up at the buffet and rolling the dice to see if luck is on your side. But it’s not exactly as it seems. Casinos are designed in a very specific way to make sure you’re there for as long as possible. They use a number of methods that play on your weaknesses to keep you playing. From the smell of scented oils to the sound of pennies dropping on slots (even though coins stopped being used a long time ago) casinos have plenty of tricks up their sleeves that are designed to make you gamble as much as possible.
But why do they do it? Basically, because they can. They do it because of the built-in mathematical advantage that exists in every game they offer. This advantage can be as low as two percent, but when multiplied by the millions of bets that are placed by players each day it’s enough to allow casinos to build giant hotels, fountains, pyramids and towers that are designed to keep you gambling for as long as possible.
Casino is a bravura piece of filmmaking that takes full advantage of its genre and its history, but there’s also an undercurrent that suggests that we should be cautious about the power of institutional systems of grift. It’s a reminder that we’re a lot more vulnerable to the manipulations of the world around us than we think.