Casino – A Psychological Study

Casino is Martin Scorsese’s epic history lesson about Vegas. It shows how a desert town became a mecca for gamblers and the mob. It also shows how the city has reinvented itself again and again. But the movie is more than just an entertaining history lesson. It’s also a great psychological study. It shows how casinos trick otherwise rational people – people who work hard and make reasoned financial decisions on a daily basis – into throwing hundreds or even thousands of dollars away based on the roll of a dice, the spin of a wheel, or the draw of cards.

The first thing to realize about a casino is that it’s not there to save you. It’s there to bleed you. The owners of a casino know this. That’s why they design their facilities to keep you there, and why they hire people whose job it is to convince you to gamble more money.

In addition to flashing lights and blaring music, the casino environment is designed to make you lose track of time. There’s no clock in the lobby, and when you go to the bathroom, you must trek deeper into the building past many more opportunities to press your luck. The casino managers want you to lose track of time, so that you don’t notice how much you’ve spent or how late it is.

Casino is an entertaining, well-acted film that tells a fascinating story about the evolution of the gambling industry. But, like all movies, it has its flaws. It’s a bit over the top in its violence, and some of the plot points are unnecessarily sensational.