Casino, the 1995 Martin Scorsese film that starred Robert De Niro as casino mogul Bernie Lootz, is considered one of the greatest gambling movies ever made. It didn’t receive quite as many accolades as the likes of Mean Streets and Goodfellas upon release, but the film remains a powerful, engrossing experience thanks to its tight storytelling and excellent performances from Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone. It’s also a look at the underbelly of gambling, with all its perks and perils.
A casino, originally a hall for music and dancing, is an entertainment complex that draws in visitors through elaborate themes and games of chance. While musical shows, shopping centers and hotels help casinos draw in patrons, they would not exist without the billions in profits raked in by gambling machines and table games like blackjack, roulette, poker, craps and keno.
With large amounts of money being handled within a casino, both patrons and employees may be tempted to cheat and steal. To prevent this, most casinos have security measures in place. Cameras located throughout the facility are the most basic measure, but more sophisticated technology is also in use. For example, betting chips are embedded with microcircuitry so that a computer can oversee the exact amount wagered by players minute-by-minute and warn them of any statistical deviation from expected results; roulette wheels are monitored electronically to catch any suspicious movements.
Some casinos reward big bettors with “comps,” which are free goods or services that can include hotel rooms, food, drinks, show tickets and even limo service and airline travel. Comps are generally given to people who spend a significant amount of time and money at the casino, but they are not guaranteed.