There’s a certain energy about casinos that draws in people who want to try their hand at games like poker, roulette, and slot machines. The smoky smell of gambling, the clinking noise of champagne glasses and coins, and the fact that no one knows when luck will strike make for an intoxicating environment. Often, a lot of money is spent in the process.
Casino is Martin Scorsese’s take on this world, and it’s a riveting ride from start to finish. Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, and Joe Pesci are all great in their roles, but it’s Stone who really shines as the blonde hustler Ginger McKenna. The film is almost three hours long, but it never feels padded or boring. Scorsese’s masterful editing and taut narration keep Casino lean and mean throughout the movie.
Gambling is a dangerous game. It’s not uncommon for people to lie, cheat, and steal their way to a jackpot, even if the odds of winning are slim to none. Casinos know this, and they spend a lot of time and money trying to prevent these bad habits from taking hold among their patrons.
They use a variety of methods to encourage patrons to gamble and keep them coming back, from a soothing scent that circulates in their ventilation systems to elaborate surveillance equipment designed to catch any suspicious activity. They also make it easy to disassociate real money from play, as many patrons choose to use colorful chips that represent the amount they’re betting.