Do Casinos Pump Oxygen?
There is a popular myth out there that the casinos in Las Vegas pump oxygen through the air conditioning system to enrich the air. The theory behind this is that the oxygen keeps you from sleeping as long and therefore you will be more inclined to gamble your money away.
However, this is an old urban legend that doesn’t have any real fact behind it. What comes to mind every time I hear this rumor are the three Apollo astronauts who died when a small spark combined with oxygen ignited their space capsule creating one of NASA’s worst disasters.
According to my a Captain at the local Fire Department, “pumping oxygen into a casino would be a tremendous fire hazard that would greatly increase the flammability of all other objects. Any small fire, anywhere in the hotel, would be fanned and magnify itself by pumped oxygen.” As for the risk/reward opportunity, no casino would ever entertain the thought.
Of course that doesn’t mean the casino doesn’t have its share of tricks to part bettors from their cash. Casinos spend tens of thousands of dollars each year studying whether scents, interior design (yes, even that gaudy carpeting) or trying to keep light off the foreheads of customers-which is draining on them from an energy standpoint-will make players stay and play more. If somehow a casino could figure out how to keep each and every patron playing just five more minutes a night, it would add millions to a casino’s gross each year.
Now back to this ridiculous rumor of pumping oxygen. It does have a starting point. I believe ground zero comes from Mario Puzo’s book, Fools Die, where the practice of pumping oxygen was written by Puzo regarding the mythical Las Vegas casino Xanadu. I guess your friend translated this fictional work into reality, but hey, Colin, maybe casinos one day will try decreasing the oxygen to disorient the players even more than they already are.