After the success of Goodfellas, Martin Scorsese decided to follow it up with a film about Vegas gambling mogul Frank Rosenthal. The result was Casino, a riveting look at the mafia’s grip on the desert city and its eventual loss to massive gambling corporations. It lays out an intricate web of corruption, with tendrils reaching into politicians, unions, and mafia factions in the Midwest. And it stars two of Hollywood’s most iconic actors, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci.
Every aspect of a casino is designed to lead people into spending more money. Bright lights and blaring sounds make the environment at once inviting and hard to step away from. The physical layout is often confusing, with bathrooms located deep within the building and surrounded by numerous tables. Plus, casinos dissociate cash from actual gambling by changing it to colored discs known as chips.
This system gives the house a mathematical edge on any game, and it’s extremely rare for a player to win more than they lose. But that doesn’t stop the sunk cost fallacy from taking hold, with patrons following a losing bet by placing a bigger one, hoping to hit it big this time.
Casinos also take the sting out of losses by rewarding players with free meals, rooms, or other extravagant inducements. While these tactics can be counterproductive, they’re part of the culture that keeps people coming back for more. So, whether you’re a fan of slots or table games, here are nine things casinos do to trick you into spending more than you should.