When you walk into a casino, the dazzling lights, noises of slot machines, and the scent of excitement make you feel like you are in another world. This is a purposeful effect designed to keep gamblers engaged. While the glitz and glamour of casinos are enticing, it is important to know that the math is in the house’s favor and you will lose money on average.

Unlike other films that portray Las Vegas in the context of partying and weekend getaways, Casino exposes the seedy origins of this gambling mecca, revealing its past ties with organized crime. At the same time, it presents a fantasy vision of what Vegas was once, and a lament for the town that has since been sanitized into a family-friendly theme park.

Casino is a story of betrayal and treachery. There is no space for heroism, and every key character is mired in avarice and greed. The film’s depictions of violence are not gratuitous, but faithful to the real-life characters and their stories. Scenes such as the torture-by-vice of De Niro and Joe Pesci, and the snippet of a popped eyeball and baseball bat beating that was trimmed from the original version, are not meant to shock the audience but rather to elicit sympathy for these betrayed men.

While the odds for each game are stacked in the house’s favor, there are still ways to increase your chances of winning. Having a wide variety of games is one way to do this, as it will attract different types of players and offer a range of stakes.