Many gamblers prefer the games that require skill and strategy, like blackjack or poker. But slot machines are also popular and easy to learn. Many people enjoy the social aspect of casinos, mingling with other patrons over drinks and food. A casino’s interior design is a critical element to the overall experience, influencing both the aesthetics and the environment. Decorative elements, including lighting, are key to creating the right atmosphere. Visual media, such as video screens, can also play a functional role.
The modern casino is a liminal space, not between Victorianism and Modernism (as in the detective novel) but between finance and the frontier. It is a world of big money antiseptically displaces not just organized crime, but unions and old-time street politics as well. In this environment, even the most scrupulous of gamblers can get caught up in the rough blur between greed and chance.
A casino can make a fortune, but that money is often short-lived. It is a competitive business that is constantly challenged by newer, fancier and closer facilities as well as private gambling, on-line gaming and the underground market. It is not immune to the foibles and corruptions that afflict both organized crime and organized business, as portrayed in Scorsese’s movie.
Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci give powerful performances as the gamblers who converge on the edifice, but it’s Sharon Stone who spikes the energy of Casino with her sexy, charismatic performance as Ginger. Despite her flaws, her ability to seduce men and manipulate them is undeniable. It is a performance that both builds upon and inverts her breakout turn in Paul Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct, making it one of the most intriguing, compelling movies of 1995.