In the 122 years since its opening, Casino has been a place to gamble, play games and be social. It has also served as a theater, a nightclub and an art museum. But the most important thing it has offered is a refuge from the outside world. That’s why so many people visit casinos. According to the American Gaming Association, 51 million Americans–a quarter of those 21 and older–visited a casino in 2002.
When you walk into a casino, it’s easy to lose track of time. Clocks are hidden or obscured, and the lighting is designed to trick you into believing it’s daytime even when it’s not. This helps create an environment that’s at once welcoming and hard to step away from.
The sounds and physical design of casinos are designed to lure you in and encourage you to spend more money. Curving paths and strategically placed casino sections catch your eye as you move through the space, tempting you to try a new game or throw a few dollars into a poker machine when you were on your way to a restroom or the exit. Casinos also use the sunk cost fallacy to encourage gambling by taking the sting out of losses by rewarding players with free meals or rooms at their adjacent hotels.
With an excellent cast led by Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci–and directed by Martin Scorsese, who was riding the crest of his success with Goodfellas at the time–Casino proved that a violent, profane crime drama could be a huge hit on both the big screen and at the box office.