Casino is a thrilling movie about crime and corruption that is both compelling and realistic. Directed by Martin Scorsese, this drama centers around the mob family of Frank Lucas in Las Vegas and the Midwest mafia based out of Kansas City. The film features a brilliant cast that includes Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone. The violence in the film, which includes torture by vice, a car bomb and even the murders of Stone and Pesci’s characters, is over the top, but it’s not just for shock value. It’s a faithful portrayal of real-life events in a gangster world that was very much centered in Vegas at the time and had tendrils to politicians, the Teamsters unions and even the mafia.

The movie also demonstrates the power of the sunk cost fallacy, in which people continue to make decisions they know will likely lead to loss based on the belief that “it’s already been paid for.” This is why casinos have so many amenities that are designed to keep customers entertained and spending money. Free cocktails and food, entertainment, and the glitz of the gaming tables are all used to keep gamblers coming back for more.

Despite the glamour, however, casinos are built on an economic bedrock of mathematical odds that slowly bleed players dry. The house always wins, and this is a fact that’s been proven by mathematicians and computer programmers who have studied the game theory behind slots and other gambling games. It’s no wonder that many otherwise rational people will continue to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars at a time, based on the roll of the dice, spin of the wheel or draw of the cards.

When it comes to marketing, many casinos rely on demographics to try to figure out what type of audience they are targeting. This can be useful, but it is important to go beyond the superficial data to understand what the audience really wants and needs from the casino experience. What are the motivations that drive them? Are they there to socialize with friends, meet business partners or test their mettle? Once you have a better understanding of what your audience is looking for, you can start to tailor your marketing and messaging.

To grow your casino’s group business, consider using Google’s Competitive Market Ads to reach out to event planners in similar areas and sister markets. These ads can provide your brand with major exposure when planners are searching for solutions for their next group trip, and it could be exactly the type of visibility you need to earn that important business.