There’s a reason you don’t see clocks on the casino floor, because they want patrons to lose track of time and stay longer. The cheerful noises of slot machines and other games, plus the dazzling lights, help create this manufactured sense of blissful euphoria to keep people gambling. Casinos also know that scent can be powerful, so they waft the smell of baked goods or a particular fruit through ventilation systems.

Like many Scorsese movies, Casino has a lot going for it: the cast (Sharon Stone, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci), the music, the pace, the violence. But what really sets this movie apart, and explains why it’s often cited as one of the director’s best works, is its dichotomy between two dominant narrators.

While legitimate businessmen were wary of getting involved in casinos because of their seamy reputation, mobster money flowed into Reno and Las Vegas with ease. Mafia figures were willing to lend money and even take sole or partial ownership of casinos, as long as they could control the decisions made inside.

These days, casino security is high-tech and sophisticated. Cameras crisscross the ceiling and can be zoomed in on suspicious patrons to ensure that games are played fairly. Casinos have also incorporated technology into the games themselves, using chips with microcircuitry to monitor betting patterns minute-by-minute and alert security staff to any anomalies. In addition, casinos routinely hire mathematicians to analyze the odds and house edge of all their games.