Gambling and Its Consequences

Gambling is the main source of income for casinos. The business rakes in billions of dollars every year for the companies, investors, and Native American tribes that run them. It also benefits state and local governments, which collect taxes, fees, and other payments. Casinos attract gamblers from all over the world and offer them many different games. The people who come to a casino share one thing in common, however: they are there to win money. They strut with confidence and expect to win big, or at least to try to recoup what they’ve lost. With music blaring and coins clinking, their ebullient moods are infectious.

Casino patrons may be swayed by all the bells and whistles, but the game is still a game of chance. There is always a house edge, and a casino is never a charitable organization throwing free money away. Despite this, gamblers are often encouraged to stay and play by comps, or complimentary services. These can include free hotel rooms, dinners, show tickets, and even limo service or airline tickets for big bettors.

After the success of Goodfellas, Scorsese pushed the envelope with Casino, an epic about gambling in the ’80s. The film’s brutal violence (including a torture-by-vice sequence with a popped eyeball and a sound-designed baseball bat beating that had to be trimmed for an NC-17 rating) evoked scorn, but it also conveyed the sense of a town that was once a wild, tawdry playground now looking like Disneyland.