The popularity of casino scenes in movies and films has continued to grow as more people enjoy escaping from their daily lives through the entertainment of a movie. As film makers experiment with different sets to enhance their movies, casinos have become a popular setting for many films, from Ocean’s Eleven to Casino Royale.
Casino is an unflinching portrait of a city in decline, evoking a sense of nostalgia for the gangster days that were never really there as much as a cautionary warning about what might be lost as Vegas becomes a family-friendly Disneyland. Scorsese isn’t afraid to push the envelope with this movie, which features a graphic depiction of violence, profanity and corruption, and stars Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci in an Oscar-worthy performance.
A casino’s business model involves a built in advantage for the house, known as the “house edge.” This can be as low as two percent and is determined by the math behind each game. This edge, plus the vig taken on games like poker and video poker (which pay out a percentage of players’ money back to the casino), provides enough revenue for casinos to build elaborate hotels, fountains, pyramids, towers and replicas of famous landmarks. Casinos may also offer comps to their loyal players, such as free hotel rooms, meals, show tickets and limo service.
Until recently, the gambling industry was required to disclose its odds of winning on television and print advertising. Now, with the influx of online gaming, players are inundated with messaging from casinos that promote their chances of winning big. The truth is that no casino has a guaranteed winner and all gambling is subject to the laws of probability.