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Las Vegas Strip (Image: Source)

It's no secret that casinos are designed to encourage visitors to stay (and hopefully gamble). But how far do casinos really go?

10 Tricks Casinos Use On you:

  • free drinks
  • no clocks
  • no windows
  • labyrinth design
  • alluring sounds
  • ...

This BBC article seems to confirm at least some of these tricks. But I'm especially interested in the "extra oxygen" claim:

No ordinary air-con for US casinos, where extra oxygen may be pumped in to help players stay alert. The manufacturer of oxygen boxes used in Las Vegas casinos has recently launched the product [in the UK].

Has there ever been a report about a casino pumping extra oxygen into their rooms? Wouldn't that be illegal, due to the increased fire hazard?

According to L. Vincent Poupard:

In every state in the United States, it is illegal for an establishment to pump oxygen into the air ducts. All states enforce this law by threatening to take away a company's business license if it is found that they are doing this kind of act.

Occasionally, members of the Las Vegas Gaming Commission will enter a casino to test the oxygen levels. This is to ensure the general populace that this action is not happening.

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    The MGM Grand fire, followed by the LV Hilton fire (1980/1981) resulted in an major overhauling of fire codes in the area. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MGM_Grand_fire . I suspect that anything that might increase the risk of fire would have been considered at that point, along with a program of inspection. – morganpdx Apr 7 '11 at 16:53
  • No on the oxygen, but they do play "happy" music in elevator cars going up and "charge you up" music when going down. – Rusty Apr 7 '11 at 16:57
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    The photo in the question needs a link or reference. We don't want to post copyrighted material. – oosterwal Apr 7 '11 at 20:36
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    Okay, changed it to a public domain picture. But wouldn't pictures used here qualify for 'fair use', since they are used "for nonprofit educational purposes": law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml – Oliver_C Apr 8 '11 at 9:08
  • It has to be true, Tyler Durden himself said so – CMR Apr 29 '11 at 4:19
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No they don't. http://www.snopes.com/luck/casino.asp

LEGEND: Casino Windsor pumps oxygen or some kind of scent into the gaming rooms, making patrons gamble more.

REALITY: Mundy has heard this legend many times. "You can't convince people it's not true," he said. Pumping oxygen or anything else into a casino to make people gamble would be a felony, Mundy said.

Mundy believes the legend has its roots in a failed experiment in an Atlantic City casino, where a scientist asked permission to study the effects of different scents on patrons. The results were inconclusive.

And yes, that would increase the fire risk, and probably would be illegal in most countries.

Also, as I understood it, oxygen doesn't make you more alert. That's an old myth, as assumption based on that lack of oxygen makes you tired and dizzy. But I couldn't find any references to that, except Wikipedia saying that any effects of Oxygen is likely due to the placebo effect.

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    This "lack of oxygen" making dizzyness comes from experience in small volume rooms, but it is more a consequence of high carbon dioxide than of low oxygen. – No longer here Apr 7 '11 at 16:19
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    FWIW, I get tired easily at higher altitudes, and that probably is a lack of oxygen. I don't know what extra oxygen would do to me. – David Thornley Apr 8 '11 at 2:12
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    ""I thought carbon dioxide was inert in that sense"" This thinking is deadly! Carbon dioxide causes dizziness when concentration rises slowly. This is main reason for death of those people heating with some open flame in restricted rooms. – No longer here Apr 8 '11 at 11:28
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    I'm wondering about the cost/benefit. The casinos I'm familiar with are quite large structures, with lots of doors opening/closing (and air exchanged). The amount of oxygen to be injected to make any sort of appreciable difference might well be far more expensive than the gains they would get in return. – Brian Knoblauch Apr 8 '11 at 13:24
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    @Nolongerhere Carbon Dioxide won't usually kill you as the body reacts to it (indeed you breathing is regulated more by carbon dioxide level than by lack of oxygen). Excess CO2 will suffocate you if it displaces the oxygen in the air, but you will notice it so it can't happen by stealth. Flames in closed spaces are more likely to kill via carbon monoxide poisoning which is deadly and stealthy. – matt_black Jan 13 '12 at 10:47
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Let's break down your question one at a time.

Oxygen is not flammable, it's an accelerant. You would have to be pumping dangerous amounts of oxygen to the person's health to increase the fire risk and it would have to be produced offsite and transported in liquid form to even approach the amounts needed for this, you'd see a very large white tank fenced off, that was getting filled every day or two. Check behind hospitals to see what I mean. They use a lot of oxygen and it is very expensive in heavy usage. Also the alcohol usage of people in the casino would lower the effectiveness of the extra oxygen.

The typical outpatient I serviced as an Oxygen Delivery Tech received a dose of 2 liters per minute. A patient who was in excruciating pain and in the process of dying would receive up to 10lpm for short periods of time. An oxygen concentrator that people typically use instead of liquid oxygen pulls oxygen from the surrounding air and only improves the patients airflow roughly 6 lpm by being directly injected into the nose through a cannula or mask, in some cases through a bipap or cpap machine, especially in the cases of sleep apnea.

Too much oxygen can actually be detrimental to your health and cause euphoric like effects, along with other affects similar to oxygen deprivation. While liquid oxygen is stored cryogenically the only affect that would cause you to wake up is the affect of being surrounded by the cold. Oxygen dries you out and if you don't need it and take too much can harm you. There is no way that this is happening. Cost wise it's also cheaper to get people drunk than to give them oxygen.

From personal observation, the smoking areas in many nursing homes and hospitals I service happened to be right next to where the oxygen tanks were stored or filled. The process for refilling certain portable tanks requires that you vent the pure oxygen gas while you put the liquid oxygen into the tanks. I would have these vents pointed away from the smokers, yet without fail they would walk right into the oxygen vent stream with no deleterious affects. We even had a patient who would use his oxygen tank as an ashtray.

@Brian Knoblauch - typically we charged about a dollar a pound for liquid oxygen, if I remember correctly, it's definitely not cheaper than alcohol.

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    The part about "would have to be pumping dangerous amounts of oxygen to the person's health to increase the fire risk" is not accurate, the fire risk will increase significantly well before short term health effects will be observable. Actually, any increase in the oxygen concentration would increase the fire risk, while humans can operate in a 100% oxygen atmosphere for hours before any detrimental effect is apparent. – Ofir Nov 17 '16 at 14:01
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    Are you sure that some extra oxygen is actually a health risk before it is a fire risk? As I understand it it is the partial pressure of oxygen above 1.4 atm. (or is it 1.6) that is dangerous. As a casino is very close to 1 atm. even pure oxygen would not be dangerous to health but an extreme fire risk. An increase in oxygen of 10% (10% more than usually) would be around 23% of the air being oxygen (to normal 21%) giving a partial pressure of 0.23 atm. – Bent Nov 17 '16 at 14:02
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    Re pure oxygen atmospheres, recall that the Apollo command module was originally designed to use a pure oxygen atmosphere, until a fire killed 3 astronauts. – jamesqf Nov 17 '16 at 18:56
  • What kind of euphoric effects?? – NuWin Nov 20 '16 at 20:47

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