Casino – The Dark Underbelly of Las Vegas


The modern casino is like an indoor amusement park for adults, with music, lighted fountains, elaborate themes and shopping centers drawing in customers. But the main attraction is gambling, and games of chance such as slot machines, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and more provide the billions of dollars in profits raked in by U.S. casinos each year.

Gambling has been a part of human culture for millennia, with archeological evidence showing wooden blocks used in dice-based games dating back to 2300 BC. The first recorded game of skill, baccarat, came along in the 1400s, followed by poker and blackjack in the 1600s. And while it is true that there is a certain element of luck to most casino games, there is also a great deal of strategy and math involved.

Many casino players are rewarded with free rooms, meals and shows for being “good” players. These perks, known as comps, are based on the amount of money spent playing at a casino and how long a player stays. But some gamblers are not good players and will lose more than they win. This is the casino’s way of keeping its house advantage, and it is the reason why you can never be sure you will ever walk away a winner.

While other movies portray Vegas as a glamorous, fun-filled place of champagne glasses and glitzy lights, Casino is an epic crime drama that reveals the dark underbelly of the gambling city. Featuring a legendary performance by Robert De Niro, the movie also stars Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci as mob bosses who run a mafia empire with tentacles reaching into politicians, Teamsters unions, Chicago and Midwest mafias and other mob groups.