Casinos are designed to be exciting places where people can let loose and have fun. They typically have flashy and extravagant decor, upbeat music, and plenty of places to eat and drink. People can try their luck at games ranging from poker to slot machines. Casinos can also be great venues for large events and parties.

The average casino gambler is an older person with above-average incomes, according to research by Harrah’s Entertainment. The company conducted a National Profile Study of face-to-face interviews with 2,000 American adults and the U.S. Gaming Panel, which mailed questionnaires to 100,000 adults. These surveys found that the average casino visitor is a forty-six-year-old woman with children and a high income. They tend to be socially and culturally active and have above-average education levels compared with the rest of the country.

In Casino, Scorsese’s film focuses on the glamorous and dangerous side of Vegas gambling, but also makes clear that casinos are not exactly a utopia. In one scene that echoes Goodfellas’ Copacabana interlude, we see Ace strolling the money counting room of the Tangiers, where skimming off the till is an art form.

Despite these dark undercurrents, the movie has a celebratory quality. The characters strut with confidence and expectation, a far cry from the meek and depressed narrators of other movies set in Sin City. As much as the movie’s antiheroes may resent being reduced to the level of Mickey Mouse, they’re enchanted by the magic of the place, and by the way it changes them.

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