Whether it’s the dazzling lights, the sound of pennies dropping (even though those coins stopped being used long ago), the scent of gambling or a host of other factors casinos create an atmosphere that plays on our senses. They are designed to be enjoyable, which encourages people to gamble longer and risk more money. But casinos must also compete with resorts, on-line gambling and private gambling at home and abroad – so they work hard to make the experience more enjoyable and less addictive.
Table games like blackjack and poker pit players’ wits against each other, while slot machines are easy to master and provide a more relaxed approach to gambling. Then there’s the music and the crowd, champagne glasses clinking and people mingling – creating an incredible buzz. But it’s Sharon Stone who really steals the show as Ginger, a smart hustler who exults in her ability to seduce and control men (“Smart hustlers like you could keep a guy awake for two or three days,” says Ace). Her performance is a perfect showcase for her talent and a reminder of why she was so robbed at the Oscars.
And although the movie has a lot of violence (including a torture-by-vice sequence featuring a popped eyeball and a sound-designed baseball bat beating), it’s all carefully edited for a PG-13 rating. This is the era of the gangster, after all, and Scorsese – like Quentin Tarantino a few years later with Boogie Nights – conveys both a sense of nostalgia for the old days and skepticism for what’ll replace them.