Casino – A Three-Hour Thriller


A casino is a large gambling pavilion that usually offers a variety of games. It may also offer food and live entertainment. Casinos can be found in countries worldwide. Many people think of seedy backroom gambling parlors when they hear the word casino but that image has been replaced by large, professional establishments that take great care to protect their patrons. While crime still happens around casinos, security guards patrol parking lots and police are frequently nearby.

Mafia money flowed into Reno and Las Vegas casinos in the 1950s, but organized crime figures weren’t satisfied to be mere bankrollers. They often became personally involved in the businesses, took sole or partial ownership and exerted control over operations by intimidating casino employees.

Casinos have been transformed by technology since the 1990s. For instance, some slot machines have built-in microcircuitry that allows casinos to monitor the amounts wagered minute by minute and warn them of statistical deviations; and roulette wheels are electronically monitored regularly to discover any unusually rapid or slow rotations. Investment banks now run many casinos, reducing the role of the mob and leaving little room for treachery and avarice.

With Sharon Stone as blonde hustler Ginger McKenna and Joe Pesci as the menacing Santoro, this cast holds up well in Casino, a three-hour thriller that never lags or loses momentum. It is an effective and entertaining depiction of corruption and crime in Las Vegas that is far more realistic than most movies about the city, which tend to glamorize partying, opulence and weekend getaways.