Do Casinos Pump Oxygen to Keep Players Awake?

Players and croupiers on the floor of a casino.

We all know that casinos remove clocks from the walls so as to keep players in the dark about the time. They also like to literally keep players in the dark by making sure that no natural light intrudes upon the casino floor, which is why you won’t find any windows in your friendly local gaming establishment.

But is it really true that Vegas casinos pump pure oxygen onto the floor to keep drowsy punters active and awake?

This is one myth that is very easy to bust.

Firstly, oxygen would be very expensive to pressurise, store, transport and then pipe into the casino. Secondly – and more importantly – the boosted percentage of oxygen in the environment would turn the casino into a tinderbox which could go up in flames at the slightest spark.

A not insignificant third factor to bear in mind is that too much oxygen is a bad thing, and could actually make your customers very sick, if not kill them outright!

Now that we have firmly disproved this myth, let’s find out where it came from in the first place.

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Origin of the Casino Oxygen Myth

As with many myths and legends, the notion that casinos use oxygen to keep their clients alive and betting comes from a work of fiction.

You may recognise the name of author Mario Puzo from his most acclaimed work, ‘The Godfather’. Besides the original ‘Godfather’ book, Puzo was responsible for four sequels and nine other stand-alone novels over the course of his career. One of these was called ‘Fools Die’ from 1978, a mafia-themed story set against the backdrops of Vegas and Hollywood. This novel was the author’s favourite and is also the source of the famous oxygen legend.

The short passage which created the myth describes how casino owner Alfred Gronevelt puts in his regular phone call to ensure that his early-morning customers were staying wide awake:

‘Gronevelt prepared to go down to the casino floor. It was now nearly two in the morning. He made his special call to the building engineer to pump pure oxygen through the casino air-conditioning system to keep the gamblers from getting sleepy.’

Over the intervening decades this work of fiction has become fact in the minds of some, but it is definitely not a tactic used by casinos in real life.

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While casinos may not pump dangerous gases onto the gaming floor, there are other techniques that they use to keep their punters playing. The air-conditioners will keep the temperatures reasonably chilly – albeit not uncomfortably so – even in the sweltering climates of Macau and Las Vegas. According to research carried out by the ‘Las Vegas Advisor‘ temperatures in popular Vegas casinos are maintained at between 65- and 74-degrees Fahrenheit (18 – 23°C). Not exactly freezing but certainly a relief compared to the outdoor temperatures of a Nevada summer.

Casinos will also play music through to the gaming rooms, ranging from rock to lounge to classical depending on the type of audience they wish to appeal to. Gamblers will also be treated to various delightful scents being circulated through the casino floor, presumably with the intention of generating a positive and comforting environment.

So, while we can be confident that casinos do whatever they can to make the gambling areas as appealing as possible, we can be equally sure that the idea of pumping extra oxygen into the rooms only occurs in fiction.

Ross O’Connor has been working in the online gaming industry for over a decade. Over that time he has written countless articles on related topics including casino and game reviews, gaming strategy and casino industry news, for a wide variety of online publications.

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