Casinos are pulsing, adrenaline-fueled, glitzy entertainment venues where people throw hundreds or even thousands of dollars away on the roll of a dice or spin of a wheel. But why do otherwise rational people, who work hard for their money and make reasoned financial decisions on a daily basis, let their emotions run wild and start gambling for real cash?

The casinos use a number of psychological tricks to keep you gambling and spending more money. For example, they usually change your real money into colorful chips that represent actual currency — this dissociates your gambling from spending the actual money you earn or lose. Also, they serve booze nonstop, which lowers inhibitions and clouds your judgment. In fact, some gamblers end up betting more money than they can afford to win.

Another way casinos manipulate gamblers is with comps, free goods or services they offer to players who spend a lot of time playing at their establishments. They can give a player a free hotel stay, dinner, tickets to shows, or limo service just for spending a certain amount of time on their casino floor. Casinos know that their players have a limited amount of free time, and they try to get the most out of it by keeping them playing as long as possible.

In the end, Scorsese’s Casino isn’t quite as cynical as his Boogie Nights and Showgirls, but it still depicts Sin City as a hellscape, one that has since been sanitized into Disneyland-style entertainment for kids.